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Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark is appointed Levelling Up Secretary replacing Michael Gove

Kent Live logo Kent Live 07/07/2022 Mary Harris
Greg Clark MP for Tunbridge Wells has been appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities © Greg Clark Greg Clark MP for Tunbridge Wells has been appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

Tunbridge Wells MP Greg Clark has been appointed Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities. The announcement was made by 10 Downing Street earlier today (July 7).

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is due to make a resignation statement to the country at around 1pm. He is expected to stand down as Conservative Party leader, but according to national reports, he will stay as PM until the autumn.

There has been a flurry of new appointments, as ministers fill the vacuum left by those who have resigned. The resignations followed Mr Johnson's apology for appointing former deputy Chief Whip Chris Pincher to a top role, despite admitting he was aware of a complaint against him.

Read more: New 'acting headteacher' appointed at Weald of Kent Grammar School after damning Ofsted report

Mr Clark was born in Middlesbrough and was elected as MP for Tunbridge Wells in 2005. He went to the local comprehensive school in South Bank before going on to study Economics at Cambridge University. He was awarded his PhD at the London School of Economics.

Before becoming an MP, he worked for the Boston Consulting Group and as the BBC's head of Commercial Policy. He was also director of policy for the Conservative Party. He has served as a Government minister for nine years continuously, five in Cabinet, including most recently as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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Locally Mr Clark campaigned for a new hospital in Tunbridge Wells, now built and called Tunbridge Wells Hospital; the widening of the A21; on improving mental health services in the area; and women and girls' safety.

Three weeks ago, Mr Clark presented his Private Member's Bill in the House of Commons to make it an offence to sexually harass someone in a public place, based on their sex. He told KentLive recently: "Over the years, I have met with many girls and women in my constituency who have had to put up with harassment on the streets - from being deliberately followed and intimidated in walking through the streets at night to having explicit, abusive comments directed at them.

"Girls and women should not have to put up with that, but too often they do. There is currently no offence of sexual harassment in public places, whereas sexual harassment in the workplace is specifically prohibited, and other types of harassment, such as harassment in public on racial grounds or because of someone’s disability, are – rightly - specified as being especially serious.

"My Bill will close the gap by specifying an offence of deliberate harassment in public places based on someone’s sex. This is an important change to the law and the Bill will be drafted to reflect the outcome of a Public Consultation which the Government has committed to launch before the summer recess. The Home Office will now begin this shortly, completed in good time to inform the detailed drafting of the Bill before its Second Reading on December 9.

"For too long women and girls have had to endure deliberate harassment, alarm and distress when going about their lives with inadequate protection from the law. If it is approved by Parliament, my Bill will be a partial but significant step to providing greater security to them."

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