Clarke denies chancellor hopes

KEN Clarke yesterday said he had no ambition to become chancellor, in a bid to scotch suggestions he has designs on the job.

Our panel of City and business professionals last week said Clarke would make a better chancellor than George Osborne, who will almost certainly take the office if the Tories win the election.

Clarke won 36 per cent of votes but Osborne was chosen by less than one in four panelists (23 per cent).

The results sparked widespread speculation that David Cameron would replace Osborne with the ex-chancellor, but Clarke moved to quell such talk yesterday.

“I’m an ex-chancellor of the exchequer and I’m going to stay an ex-chancellor of the exchequer thank you very much,” he said, in a thinly-veiled reference to the furore.

The 63-year-old made the remarks during a fiery debate with his opposite number Lord Mandelson at the British Chamber of Commerce’s annual conference.

The pair – who rarely get a chance to go head-to-head because they sit in different House of Commons chambers – traded blows over public spending and the economy.