Former chancellor and well-known EU supporter rejoins Tory front bench

Ken Clarke has returned to the front bench of the Conservative Party as shadow business secretary.

Clarke, who was chancellor of the Exchequer from 1993 to 1997, had been widely tipped to replace Alan Duncan in the shadow cabinet.

Ken Clarke
Clarke: claims to have invented PFI

Gordon Brown's shock decision to appoint Lord Mandelson as business secretary in November last year is likely to have prompted David Cameron to bring a senior figure into the shadow role.

He is a well-known supporter of the EU, a position that could create tension with the eurosceptic front bench.

Clarke claimed in a Building interview in 2003 to have invented PFI, but lambasted the Labour government for “getting it wrong”.

He said: “In the old days, taxpayers' money used to be thrown around like confetti after every construction contract and nobody was allowed to go bust. We were intent on stopping that.”