Ex-chancellor honours election whisky promise – 25 years on

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Victory is sweet, especially in politics. But that rings particularly true for one MP.

Ken Clarke, the veteran Tory backbencher, visited a whisky distillery in Moray to open a barrel and make good on a 25-year-old promise.

Back in 1994 he took a trip there as chancellor to lay a cask, and gave instructions it could only be opened when the constituency voted in a Conservative MP.

Ken Clarke at a whiskey distillery in 1994, where he instructed the barrel not be opened until Moray elected a Tory MP - in 2017
Image: He travelled up to honour the instructions, made in 1994

Then it was one of the Scottish National Party’s key seats, and a top Tory target.

It flipped back in 2017 and so Mr Clarke was invited back by victor Douglas Ross to open the barrel of the drink, which he famously drank in the Commons chamber.

“I learned a lot about the Scotch Whisky industry,” the Rushcliffe MP said.

“Every budget I gave after that, the glass of whisky which I used to make a bit of a prop of when I delivered my budget was Glenfarclas whisky – as I’d so enjoyed my visit here.”

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Mr Clarke admitted he had long-forgotten about the promise, but journeyed back to open the barrel and sample the whisky – provisionally named “chancellor’s cask”.

Mr Morray told Sky News that “given how well whisky matures, the long wait for this cask to be opened has provided a great end product”.

He added: “Given the Scottish Conservatives returned no MPs from Scotland at the election after Ken’s visit in 1994, some people may have thought the angel’s share of this cask was going to be particularly high as it sat there waiting for Moray to elect a Conservative MP.”


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