Tory past provides Clark with key to television future

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Indy Politics
Alan Clark, MP for Kensington & Chelsea, will join the pack of Conservative politicians pursuing a second career in television when he traces the history of his party for BBC2 this autumn.

Mr Clark, a military historian before he became an MP, said yesterday that writing books and presenting a television series was preferable to joining the Shadow Cabinet.

"A shadow position in the Conservative Party at the moment is comparable only to the Latvian Government in exile in 1943," he said. "I'm sure they argued bitterly amongst themselves about who was going to be finance minister."

Alan Clark's History of the Tory Party covers events from Stanley Baldwin's unification of a divided party in 1922 to its defeat in the last election.

The series is based on a book which will be released in the autumn. Mr Clark claims it is an academic and objective study but he refused to say whether the series would attack the last Conservative government.

"I haven't negotiated the serialisation rights [to a newspaper] yet and I don't want to spill any of the beans," he said.

Mr Clark uses the series to further his opinion that Winston Churchill could have negotiated a settlement with Germany in the early days of the Second World War which would have saved the British Empire and Britain's economic health. He will also reveal evidence of moves within the party to get rid of Churchill in 1941 and 1942.

He promised the episode that covered Mrs Thatcher would not be a revisionist history. "If there is a theme it is that the Conservative Party is the party of the nation state, so it claims and so its members believe.

"At the end of its period in office the nation state was by any criteria in a lot worse shape. There are many factors responsible for this, but it is obvious that the party in management carries responsibility."

Douglas Hurd, the former foreign secretary, will also appear on BBC2 this autumn, presenting a three-part series about war and diplomacy entitled The Search for Peace.

And the former Tory MP Tony Marlow will feature in Campaign Confessions, a fly-on-the-wall view of 10 candidates' election campaigns.