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Kwasi Alfred Addo Kwarteng (born 26 May 1975) is a British
Conservative Party Conservative Party may refer to: Europe Current *Croatian Conservative Party, *Conservative Party (Czech Republic) *Conservative People's Party (Denmark) *Conservative Party of Georgia *Conservative Party (Norway) *Conservative Party (UK) Histor ...

Conservative Party
politician serving as
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, also referred to as the business secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unit ...
since 2021. He has been the
Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative district, voting district, constituency, riding, ward, division, (election) ...
(MP) for Spelthorne since 2010. On 16 November 2018, Kwarteng was appointed
Under-Secretary of State Parliamentary Under Secretaries of State (also called Parliamentary Secretaries, when not under a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), Secretary of State) is the lowest of three tiers of Minister (government), government minister in the Govern ...
at the
Department for Exiting the European Union Department may refer to: * Departmentalization Departmentalization (or departmentalisation) refers to the process of grouping activities into departments. Division of labour creates Expert, specialists who need :wikt:coordination, coordination. Th ...

Department for Exiting the European Union
(DExEU), following the resignation of
Suella Braverman Sue-Ellen Cassiana "Suella" Braverman (; born 3 April 1980) is a British politician. She was appointed Attorney General for England and Wales Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known as the Attorney General, is ...
. Following the election of
Boris Johnson Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson (; born 19 June 1964) is a British politician and writer serving as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of govern ...

Boris Johnson
as
Prime Minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
in July 2019, Kwarteng was promoted to
Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth The Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth is a mid-level position in the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in the Government of the United Kingdom, British government. It is currently held by Anne-Marie Trevel ...
, attending
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
as part of the role.


Early life and education

Kwarteng was born in the
London Borough of Waltham Forest The London Borough of Waltham Forest () is a London borough The London boroughs are the 32 local authority districts that make up the ceremonial county The counties and areas for the purposes of the lieutenancies, also referred to a ...
in 1975, to parents Alfred K. Kwarteng and Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng who had emigrated from
Ghana Ghana (), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of . The defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , and as well as .Paul R. ...

Ghana
as students in the 1960s."Tories adopt 'black Boris' as candidate"
''Staines News'', 25 January 2010.
Archived at archive.org 10 July 2010. His mother is a
barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer A lawyer or attorney is a person who practices law, as an advocate, attorney at law, barrister A barrister is a type of lawyer in common law jurisdiction (area), jurisdictions. Barristers mostly specialis ...

barrister
and his father an economist in the
Commonwealth Secretariat The Commonwealth Secretariat is the main intergovernmental agency and central institution of the Commonwealth of Nations. It is responsible for facilitating co-operation between members; organising meetings, including the Commonwealth Heads of ...
. After starting school at a state primary school, Kwarteng attended
Colet Court St Paul's Juniors (formerly Colet Court) is an independent Independent or Independents may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Artist groups * Independents (artist group), a group of modernist painters based in the New Hope, Pennsylvania, ...
, an independent preparatory school in London, where he won the
Harrow History Prize The Harrow History Prize or the Townsend Warner Preparatory Schools History Prize is a prestigious annual history competition for children at British Preparatory school (UK), preparatory schools. It currently attracts around 800 entrants each year. ...
in 1988. Kwarteng then went to
Eton College Eton College () is a public school (private sector) for boys in Eton, Berkshire Eton ( ) is a town in Berkshire, England, on the opposite bank of the River Thames to Windsor, connected to it by Windsor Bridge. The civil parish In ...

Eton College
, where he was a
King's Scholar A King's Scholar is a foundation scholar (elected on the basis of good academic performance and usually qualifying for reduced fees) of one of certain public schools. These include Eton College Eton College () is a public school (privat ...
and was awarded the prestigious
Newcastle Scholarship The Newcastle Scholarship is an annual prize awarded at Eton College in England for the highest performance in a series of special written examinations taken over the course of a week. It was instituted and first awarded in 1829 and is the college ...
prize. He read classics and history at
Trinity College, Cambridge Trinity College is a constituent college A collegiate university is a university A university ( la, universitas, 'a whole') is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education ...
, achieving a
first First or 1st is the ordinal form of the number one (#1). First or 1st may also refer to: *World record A world record is usually the best global and most important performance that is ever recorded and officially verified in a specific skill ...
in both subjects and twice winning the Browne Medal. He was a member of the team which won ''
University Challenge ''University Challenge'' is a British television game show, quiz programme which first aired in 1962. ''University Challenge'' aired for 913 episodes on ITV (TV network), ITV from 21 September 1962 to 31 December 1987, presented by quizmaster ...
'' in 1995 (in the first series after the programme was revived by the
BBC The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a public service broadcaster, headquartered at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London. It is the world's oldest national broadcaster, and the largest broadcasting, broadcaster in the world by ...

BBC
in 1994). He attended
Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the third single in a row to be a charting success for United Kingdom, British singer Dusty Springfield, after an absence of nearly t ...

Harvard University
on a
Kennedy Scholarship Kennedy Scholarships provide full funding for up to ten British post-graduate students to study at either Harvard University Harvard University is a private Private or privates may refer to: Music * "In Private "In Private" was the t ...
, and then earned a
PhD A Doctor of Philosophy (PhD, Ph.D., or DPhil; Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known a ...
in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000.


Early career

Before becoming a member of parliament, Kwarteng worked as a columnist for ''
The Daily Telegraph ''The Daily Telegraph'', known online and elsewhere as ''The Telegraph'' (), is a national British daily broadsheet A broadsheet is the largest newspaper format and is characterized by long vertical pages, typically of . Other common ne ...

The Daily Telegraph
'' and as a financial analyst at
JPMorgan Chase JPMorgan Chase & Co. is an American multinational Multinational may refer to: * Multinational corporation, a corporate organization operating in multiple countries * Multinational force, a military body from multiple countries * Multinational ...

JPMorgan Chase
and other
investment banks An investment bank is a financial services Financial services are the economic services provided by the finance Finance is a term for the management, creation, and study of money In a 1786 James Gillray caricature, the plentiful mo ...
. He wrote a book, ''Ghosts of Empire'', about the legacy of the
British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom and its predecessor states. ...

British Empire
, published by
Bloomsbury Bloomsbury is a district in the West End of London The West End of London (commonly referred to as the West End) is a district of Central London Central London is the innermost part of London London is the capital city, capital ...
in 2011. He also co-authored ''Gridlock Nation'' with Jonathan Dupont in 2011, about the causes of and solutions to traffic congestion in Britain.


Political career

Considered "a rising star on the right of the party", Kwarteng was the
Conservative Conservatism is an aesthetic Aesthetics, or esthetics (), is a branch of philosophy that deals with the nature of beauty and taste (sociology), taste, as well as the philosophy of art (its own area of philosophy that comes out of ae ...

Conservative
candidate in the constituency of Brent East at the 2005 general election. He finished in third place behind the incumbent Liberal Democrat MP
Sarah Teather Sarah Louise Teather (born 1 June 1974) is the Director of Jesuit Refugee Service UK and a former British House of Commons of the United Kingdom#Members and elections, Member of Parliament and Minister. As a Liberal Democrats (UK), Liberal Dem ...
(who had won the seat in a 2003 by-election) and
Yasmin Qureshi Yasmin Qureshi (born 5 July 1963) is a British Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician and a barrister practising criminal law. She headed the criminal legal section of the UN Mission in Kosovo and was later appointed Director of the departm ...
of the
Labour Party Labour Party or Labor Party may refer to: Angola *MPLA, known for some years as "Popular Movement for the Liberation of Angola – Labour Party" Antigua and Barbuda *Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party Argentina *Labour Party (Argentina) Armenia ...
. Kwarteng was chairman of the
Bow Group The Bow Group is a UK-based think tank A think tank, or policy institute, is a research institute A research institute, research centre, or research center is an establishment founded for doing research Research is "creativity, creat ...
in 2005–06. In 2006, ''
The Times ''The Times'' is a British Newspaper#Daily, daily Newspaper#National, national newspaper based in London. It began in 1785 under the title ''The Daily Universal Register'', adopting its current name on 1 January 1788. ''The Times'' and its s ...
'' suggested that he could become the first black Conservative
cabinet minister A minister is a politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or honor, or a person seeki ...
."Power couple behind the new Tory throne"
''The Times'', 26 March 2006.
He was sixth on the Conservative list of candidates for the
London Assembly The London Assembly is a 25-member elected body, part of the Greater London Authority The Greater London Authority (GLA), colloquially known by the metonym "City Hall", is the Devolution in the United Kingdom, devolved Regions of England, r ...
in the
2008 London Assembly election An election to the London Assembly, Assembly of London took place on 1 May 2008, along with the 2008 London mayoral election. The Conservative Party (UK), Conservatives gained 2 seats, Labour Party (UK), Labour gained one seat, the Liberal Democra ...
, but was not elected as the Conservatives claimed only three London-wide list seats. Kwarteng was selected as the Conservative candidate for Spelthorne at an
open primary Primary elections, often abbreviated to primaries, are a process by which voters can indicate their preference for their party's candidate, or a candidate in general, in an upcoming general election, local election, or by-election A by-electio ...
in January 2010 after the incumbent Conservative MP,
David Wilshire David Wilshire (born 16 September 1943, Bristol Bristol () is a city A city is a large human settlement.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social ...
, became mired in controversy arising from the Parliamentary expenses scandal and announced that he would be retiring from Parliament at the next general election. Kwarteng won the seat with 22,261 votes (numerically more votes but a lower percentage of the vote than his predecessor). Kwarteng did not vote on the backbench EU Referendum Bill in October 2011. Kwarteng irritated
Chancellor Chancellor ( la, links=no, cancellarius) is a title of various official positions in the governments of many nations. The original chancellors were the ''cancellarii Cancelli are lattice-work, placed before a window, a door-way, the tribunal o ...
George Osborne George Gideon Oliver Osborne (born Gideon Oliver Osborne; 23 May 1971) is a British politician and newspaper editor who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer The chancellor of the Exchequer, often abbreviated to the chancellor, is a seni ...

George Osborne
in 2013 by criticising the
Help to Buy Help to Buy is the name of a government programme in the United Kingdom that aims to help first time buyers, and those looking to move home, purchase residential property. It was announced in Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne's 2013 budg ...
housing scheme as inflationary. In August 2012, Kwarteng co-authored a book with four fellow MPs titled '' Britannia Unchained''. The authors made a number of remarks and suggestions, including that "Once they enter the workplace, the British are among the worst idlers in the world". The book argues for a radical shrinking of the
welfare state The welfare state is a form of government in which the state (or a well-established network of social institutions) protects and promotes the economic and social well-being of its citizens, based upon the principles of equal opportunity Equal o ...
in order "to return it to the contributory principle envisioned by its founder
Sir William Beveridge William Henry Beveridge, 1st Baron Beveridge, (5 March 1879 – 16 March 1963) was a British economist and Liberal Party (UK), Liberal politician who was a Progressivism, progressive and social reformer who played a central role in designing ...
– that you get benefits in return for contributions". In 2014, his book ''War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt'' was published. It is a history of capital and the enduring ability of money, when combined with speculation, to ruin societies. The book has been translated into Spanish and
Mandarin Chinese Mandarin (; ) is a group of Sinitic (Chinese) languages natively spoken across most of northern and southwestern China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in . It is the world's , with a of more ...
. In 2015 his next book, ''Thatcher's Trial: Six Months That Defined a Leader'', was published. Kwarteng was re-elected on 7 May 2015 with an increased majority. In April 2016, the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Foreign Affairs paid for Kwarteng and ten other Conservative MPs to visit Saudi Arabia on a "parliamentary fact-finding" mission. The Saudi Arabian government paid between £1,500 and £3,700 for each MP. Kwarteng backed the United Kingdom's withdrawal from the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a political and economic union of member states that are located primarily in Europe Europe is a which is also recognised as part of , located entirely in the and mostly in the . It comprises the wester ...

European Union
in the 2016 referendum. Following the 2017 general election, Kwarteng was appointed
Parliamentary Private Secretary A Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) is a Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative of the people who live in their constituency An electoral district, also known as an election district, legislative distri ...
to Chancellor of the Exchequer
Philip Hammond Philip Hammond, Baron Hammond of Runnymede (born 4 December 1955) is a British politician and life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Br ...
. On 16 November 2018, Kwarteng replaced
Suella Braverman Sue-Ellen Cassiana "Suella" Braverman (; born 3 April 1980) is a British politician. She was appointed Attorney General for England and Wales Her Majesty's Attorney General for England and Wales, usually known as the Attorney General, is ...
as a minister in the . Kwarteng was a vocal supporter of Boris Johnson in the
2016 2016 was designated as: * International Year of Pulses 2016 was declared as the International Year of Pulses by the sixty eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly on December 20, 2013. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) ...
and
2019 2019 was designated as International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements by the United Nations General Assembly The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA or GA; french: link=no, Assemblée générale, AG) is one of the six pr ...
Conservative Party leadership elections. After Johnson's victory in the latter election, on 25 July 2019 Kwarteng was appointed
Minister of State Minister of State is a title borne by politician A politician is a person active in party politics A political party is an organization that coordinates candidate A candidate, or nominee, is the prospective recipient of an award or ...
at the
Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) is a United Kingdom government department, department of the government of the United Kingdom. The department was formed during a machinery of government change on 14 July 201 ...
along with
Jo Johnson Joseph Edmund Johnson, Baron Johnson of Marylebone, (born 23 December 1971) is a British politician who was Minister of State for Universities, Science, Research and Innovation from July to September 2019, as well as previously from 2015 to 2 ...
, brother of the Prime Minister. He was appointed to the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advises the head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's per ...
on the same day. In September 2019, Kwarteng was criticised by former Liberal Democrat leader
Menzies Campbell Walter Menzies Campbell, Baron Campbell of Pittenweem, (; born 22 May 1941), often known as Ming Campbell, is a British Liberal Democrat politician A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected ...
for stating on ''
The Andrew Neil Show "The Andrew Neil Show" is a BBC political programme presented by Andrew Neil. It was broadcast on BBC Two every Wednesday evening. It was launched on 4 September 2019 and returned for a second series on 8 January 2020. The show came off-air dur ...
'': "I'm not saying this, but, many people are saying that the judges are biased" after the
Court of Session The Court of Session is the supreme civil Civil may refer to: *Civic virtue, or civility *Civil action, or lawsuit *Civil affairs *Civil and political rights *Civil disobedience *Civil engineering *Civil (journalism), a platform for indepen ...
ruled that Boris Johnson's prorogation of parliament was illegal. Kwarteng added: "The extent to which lawyers and judges are interfering in politics is something that concerns many people." In 2008, he received financial assistance from the secret group
Le Cercle Le Cercle is a secretive, invitation-only foreign policy forum. Its focus has been opposing communism Communism (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin ...

Le Cercle
to attend a conference in
Washington, DC ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, United States Capitol, Washington Metro, National Air and Space Museum, Air and Spac ...
and in 2019 he was funded by the same group to attend a meeting in
Bahrain Bahrain ( ; ar, البحرين, al-Baḥrayn, , locally ), officially the Kingdom of Bahrain ( ar, مملكة البحرين, links=no '), is a country in the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, Persian Gulf. The Island country, island nation c ...

Bahrain
.


Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy

On 8 January 2021, as part of a mini-reshuffle, he replaced
Alok Sharma Alok Sharma (born 7 September 1967) is a UK, British politician. He is currently serving as COP26 President, President for COP26, based in the Cabinet Office, and is a full member of the Cabinet of the United Kingdom, Cabinet. He has been the ...

Alok Sharma
as
Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy The secretary of state for business, energy and industrial strategy, also referred to as the business secretary, is a secretary of state in the Government of the United Kingdom ga, Rialtas na Ríochta Aontaithe sco, Govrenment o the Unit ...
. He became the second black man to serve in the Cabinet, the first being Paul Boateng, who served as
Chief Secretary to the Treasury The chief secretary to the Treasury (CST) is the third most senior ministerial office in HM Treasury Her Majesty's Treasury (HM Treasury), sometimes referred to as the Exchequer, or more informally the Treasury, is the department of the Gover ...
, and the first black Conservative. He also became the first black man to run a government department by being appointed to the level of Secretary of State. He has committed his department to cutting global emissions to stop climate change. In May 2021, Kwarteng opened a new electric car battery plant in
Oxfordshire Oxfordshire is a landlocked county A county is a geographical region of a country used for administrative or other purposesChambers Dictionary The ''Chambers Dictionary'' (''TCD'') was first published by William Chambers (publisher), ...

Oxfordshire
. In March 2021 he was criticised for dissolving the Industrial Strategy Council, the advisery body seeking to regenerate Britain's regions. In the days after the
COP26 The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26, is the 26th United Nations Climate Change conference. It is scheduled to be held in the city of Glasgow from 1 to 12 November 2021 under the presidency of the United Kingdom ...
climate summit Kwarteng met oil industry bosses to encourage them to continue drilling in the North Sea.


2021 gas crisis

From August 2021, high European wholesale
natural gas Natural gas (also called fossil gas; sometimes just gas) is a naturally occurring hydrocarbon gas mixture consisting of methane and commonly including varying amounts of other higher alkanes, and sometimes a small percentage of carbon dioxid ...

natural gas
prices caused some smaller domestic suppliers in the United Kingdom to go out of business. In September 2021, the fuel supply crisis caused serious disruption to the supply of road fuel. Kwarteng said that "There is no question of the lights going out, of people being unable to heat their homes. There will be no three-day working week, or a throwback to the 1970s." He also said that "The government will not be bailing out failed companies. There will be no rewards for failure or mismanagement."
Ed Miliband Edward Samuel Miliband (born 24 December 1969) is a British politician serving as Shadow Secretary of State for Climate Change and Net Zero since 2021. He has been the Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Donca ...

Ed Miliband
, Labour's shadow business secretary, accused Kwarteng of being "complacent about the situation we are facing" as though it "was normal for a number of suppliers to go down each winter. But what we are dealing with is far from normal – 800,000 customers losing their suppliers yesterday alone, 1.5 million in the last six weeks."


Role in the Owen Paterson scandal

Kwarteng was an outspoken supporter of
Owen Paterson Owen William Paterson (born 24 June 1956) is a British former politician who served as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland The secretary of state for Northern Ireland (; ), also referred to as the Northern Ireland secretary or SoSNI, ...

Owen Paterson
, who had been found by the Committee on Standards to have committed "an egregious case of paid advocacy". In reaction to this ruling, Kwarteng called for the independent Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, Kathryn Stone, to "decide her position". The government later U-turned its support of Paterson, who resigned as an MP. The opposition called for an investigation into Kwarteng, claiming he may have breached the ministerial code. On 15 November 2021, Kwarteng published a letter of apology to Stone, in which he said he "did not mean to express doubt about your ability to discharge your role" and apologised for "any upset or distress my choice of words may have caused".


Personal life

Kwarteng was previously in a relationship with former Conservative Home Secretary
Amber Rudd Amber Augusta Rudd (born 1 August 1963) is a British former politician who served as Home Secretary from 2016 to 2018 and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2018 to 2019. She was a Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Par ...
. Kwarteng married city solicitor Harriet Edwards in December 2019. Their daughter was born on 15 October 2021. He has considered
veganism Veganism is the practice of abstaining from the use of animal product An animal product, also known as lacticinia, is any material derived from the body of an animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellul ...
in order to combat climate change.


Publications

* * * * * *


References


External links

* *
Blog
at ''Conservative Home''
Spelthorne Conservatives
, - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Kwarteng, Kwasi UK MPs 2010–2015 Conservative Party (UK) MPs for English constituencies Black British politicians English people of Ghanaian descent Alumni of Trinity College, Cambridge
Harvard University alumni Alumni of Harvard University. {{CatAutoTOC Alumni by university or college in Massachusetts Harvard University people, Alumni ...
People educated at Eton College Politicians from London Writers from London 1975 births
Living people Related categories * :Year of birth missing (living people) / :Year of birth unknown * :Date of birth missing (living people) / :Date of birth unknown * :Place of birth missing (living people) / :Place of birth unknown * :Year of death mi ...
UK MPs 2015–2017 UK MPs 2017–2019 UK MPs 2019–present Contestants on University Challenge Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom Black British MPs