Kenneth was born in 1940. He was educated at Nottingham High School and Gonville and Caius College, Cambridge. He is married with two children.
He is a barrister-at-law, having been called to the Bar by Gray`s Inn in l963 and becoming QC in l980. He has practised on the Midland Circuit, based in Birmingham.
Kenneth unsuccessfully contested Mansfield in the General Elections of l964 and l966. He was elected MP for Rushcliffe at the l970 General Election, gaining the seat from Labour.
From January l97l until April l972, he was PPS to the Solicitor-General and worked with Sir Geoffrey Howe, first on the Industrial Relations Bill and then on the European Community Enabling Legislation. He was appointed an Assistant Government Whip in April l972, and Lord Commissioner of the Treasury in January l974 until February l974. In June l974 he was appointed an additional Opposition Front Bench Spokesman on Social Services. In the Shadow Cabinet reshuffle in November 1976, Kenneth became an additional Opposition Spokesman on Industry.
He was appointed Parliamentary Secretary, Department of Transport after the General Election of May l979 and became Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport in January l98l. He moved to become Minister for Health in March l982. In the New Year Honours List of l984 Mr Clarke was appointed a Privy Counsellor. In September 1985, Kenneth was appointed to the Cabinet as Paymaster General and Minister for Employment.
He was appointed Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Minister for Trade and Industry following the June 1987 General Election. From July 1988 to November 1990 he was Secretary of State for Health, and from November 1990 to April 1992 he was Secretary of State for Education and Science.
From April 1992 until May 1993, he was Secretary of State for the Home Office, and then from May 1993 until April 1997, Kenneth was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
In December 2005, he was appointed Chairman of the Party's Democracy Task Force.