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Ken Clarke to lead Spalding Brexit Dialogue
18 May, 2018

The Lincolnshire Branch of the European Movement continues its series of events under the collective title of "The Brexit Dialogue: Explaining the Facts, Exposing the Myths, Exploring the Options" at the South Holland Centre, Spalding on the evening of Friday 25th May 2018 – doors open 7.00pm for a 7.30pm start.

The Rt. Hon Kenneth Clarke QC MP (President of the East Midlands European Movement) will be opening the evening which will then be followed by a Question and Answer session with a panel consisting of Ken Clarke, the Rt. Hon Tom Brake MP, Liberal Democrat spokesperson on Exiting the European Union and International Trade, Amelia Womack, Deputy Leader of the Green Party and James Torrance, one of the founders of the new party "Renew". 

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Ken Clarke Tom Brake Amelia Womack James Torrance


The event will be moderated by John Hess who has been a familiar broadcast voice and face in the Midlands. He was the BBC’s first political editor for the East Midlands and for 20 years, he reported from both Downing Street, Parliament and nearer to home, on the local political scene.

John Hess


Ken Clarke, has been the Member of Parliament for Rushcliffe since 1970. As the longest serving Member of Parliament, he is currently the Father of the House.

He has served in various British Cabinets as Chancellor of the Exchequer, Home Secretary, Lord Chancellor and Justice Secretary, Education Secretary, Health Secretary and Minister without Portfolio. He has been the President of the Tory Reform Group since 1997.

Clarke contested the Conservative Party leadership three times – in 1997, 2001 and 2005 – being defeated each time, he is also President of the Conservative Europe Group, Co-President of the pro-EU body British Influence and Vice-President of the European Movement UK, and now its President in the East Midlands.

Clarke was one of only five Ministers to serve throughout the whole 18 years of the Governments of Margaret Thatcher and John Major, which represents the longest uninterrupted Ministerial service in Britain since Lord Palmerston in the early 19th century. He returned to government in 2010 and his total time as a minister is the fifth-longest in the modern era; having spent over 20 years serving under Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron.

Tom Brake was born in Leicestershire and from the age of eight, lived with his family in France, attending the Lycee International. Upon returning to England, he attended Imperial College, London where he gained a BSc (Hons) degree in Physics.

Tom was actively involved in human rights issues as a student. In 1988 he became a Liberal Democrat Councillor in the London Borough of Hackney before moving to Carshalton in 1990. Tom was elected as a Sutton Councillor in 1994.

Tom Brake has been the MP for Carshalton and Wallington since 1997.

In June 2011, he was appointed as a Privy Counsellor and served as Deputy Leader of the House of Commons and Assistant Government Whip in the Coalition Government.

From May 2015 to June 2017 he served as Liberal Democrat Chief Whip and Foreign Affairs Spokesman and was appointed Liberal Democrat Spokesman for Exiting the European Union and International Trade and Shadow First Secretary of State.

Amelia Womack was elected as Green Party Deputy Leader in 2014 at the age of 29, while still a member of the Young Greens. Her three years as Green Party deputy leader have seen her work across the country, visiting hundreds of local campaigns, events and organisations. She works to raise awareness of local issues while campaigning for change on a national level.

Since she was elected she has used this platform to highlight problems affecting young people, from tuition fees to zero hour contracts.

She holds a BSc in Environmental Biology and MSc in Environmental Technology. She works across a wide range of social and environmental issues, with a particular focus on women’s rights, flooding, climate change and community resilience. 

James Torrance is an accountant and London Business School MBA. He has worked in India, China and Northern Ireland and was a world champion in 2014 in competitive debating. He was the Kensington Stop Brexit Independent candidate in the last general election and his vote count was enough to ensure the Kensington Brexiter Conservative MP, Victoria Borwick, lost.

He is Head of Strategy and one of three Principals at Renew, the new political party established in 2017 that is seeking to transform British politics and create optimism and opportunity instead of decline and division.

John Hess has been a familiar broadcast voice and face in the Midlands. He was the BBC’s first political editor for the East Midlands and for 20 years, he reported from both Downing Street, Parliament and nearer to home, on the local political scene.

During his distinguished broadcasting career, he was nominated for three Royal Television Society awards and for two years running was a finalist in the Midlands Media Awards as TV journalist of the year. At the last count, he had interviewed eight Prime Ministers and two presidents.

He was a member of the Westminster-based parliamentary lobby of journalists and regularly brought his inside knowledge to the BBC’s News Channel, Radio 4’s Today programme and to viewers of both “East Midlands Today” and BBC1’s “Sunday Politics”.

He retired after 35 years with BBC news in 2015, yet returned to our TV screens as part of the BBC’s coverage of the EU Referendum campaign and the 2017 General Election. He now works part-time for BBC One’s “Sunday Politics”.

He is also an Honorary Professor at the School of Politics and International Relations, at the University of Nottingham, and runs a series of weekly political talks for 2nd year students studying UK politics.

John is now chair of the board of trustees for the East Midlands-based Music for Everyone charity, and is also a trustee of Inspire, the charity that runs the library, cultural and archive services in Nottinghamshire, on behalf of the county council.

A father of three grown children, John lives in West Bridgford, Nottinghamshire.

The events are designed to provide an opportunity for the residents of South Lincolnshire to ask questions of politicians about the Brexit process so far, separate myths from facts and explore what the implications of Brexit will mean for our local economy and how the proposed new trading arrangements will work in practice, and what the consequences will be for our rural communities in particular.

With both the Government and the Opposition seemingly divided on the issue, the negotiations with the European Union seemingly at a standstill, and with a rapidly growing campaign for a People’s Vote on the terms of the final deal, the event will give South Lincolnshire residents a rare opportunity to quiz politicians from across the political spectrum who are openly expressing deep reservations about the course chosen by the Government.

Tickets are available for free from the South Holland Centre booking office in person or by phoning 01775 764777 or can be ordered online for a small booking fee (£1.50) at