Ken Clarke has a pint in his hand, a blue rosette on his chest and a copy of the Times under his arm. He is waiting for me at the bar of a breezy pub in his constituency called the Stratford Haven. An etching of Shakespeare peers out from its sign, squinting as the sun shines over Nottinghamshire.
The Tory MP for Rushcliffe is best known for serving as Chancellor under John Major in 1993-97, but his government career has spanned three different cabinets – those of Major, Margaret Thatcher and David Cameron – and he has served as Home Secretary and Health Secretary. He has been an MP for 45 years, and is running again this time round – but for the last time, he expects – at the age of 74.
Clarke is a self-confessed “political anorak”, which is why he’s running again, although he has now retired from frontbench politics. By the time he left cabinet during Cameron’s reshuffle last summer, he had served in government far longer than anyone else there.