Charles Rodway Clarke (born 21 September 1950) is a British Labour Party politician. He has been Member of Parliament for Norwich South since 1997 and was Home Secretary from December 2004 until May 2006.
The son of Civil Service Permanent Secretary Sir Richard Clarke, Charles Clarke was born in London. He attended the fee-paying Highgate School where he was Head Boy. He then read Mathematics and Economics at King's College, Cambridge, where he also served as the President of the Cambridge Students' Union. A member of the Broad Left faction, he went on to become President of the National Union of Students from 1975 to 1977. Clarke was widely opposed by the moderate element of the Broad Left, and was contrasted (unfavourably) with his more consensus-orientated predecessor John Randall. Proponents of his election spoke, however, of his considerable political savvy.
He was elected as a local councillor in the London Borough of Hackney, being Chair of its Housing Committee and Vice-Chair of economic development from 1980 to 1986. He worked as a researcher, and later Chief of Staff, for Labour Party leader Neil Kinnock from February 1981 to 1992. His long association with Kinnock and with the general election defeat in 1992 was expected to handicap him in his career. But Clarke bounced back. He spent the mid-1990s away from national politics, working in the private sector - from 1992 to 1997, he was chief executive of Quality Public Affairs, a public affairs management consultancy - and subsequently emerged as a high flyer under the Labour leadership of Tony Blair.