Clare was born in Birmingham in 1946, the daughter of Frank Short, a Crossmaglen born teacher and Joan, a former bookkeeper. She was educated at St Paul’s Grammar School Birmingham, and then went on to study at the Universities of Keele and Leeds, graduating as Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Political Science.
Prior to Clare entering the House of Commons in 1983 she had previously worked as a Civil Servant at the Home Office, as a Director of Youthaid and the Unemployment Unit and as a Director of AFFOR, a community based organisation promoting racial equality in Birmingham.
Since entering the House of Commons, as Member of Parliament for Birmingham Ladywood in 1983 Clare has an impressive CV.
From 1983-85 she was a member of the Home Affairs Select Committee, 1985-86 Chair of the All-Party Group on Race Relations, member of Labour’s National Executive Committee (NEC) 1988-97 and Chair of the NEC Women’s Committee from 1993-96. In addition, she was Shadow Minister for Women from 1993-95, Shadow Secretary of State for Transport from 1995-96 and from 1996 until the 1997 general election she was Opposition spokesperson on Overseas Development.
Following the Labour Party’s general election success in 1997 Clare was appointed the post of Secretary of State for International Development (formerly known as the Overseas Development Administration) a post she says she was deeply honoured to hold and very sad to leave, when in 2003 she resigned from Government over issues relating to the war in Iraq.
Clare has continued to voice her objections to the UK and US actions in Iraq but is also highly respected for her work fighting AIDS in Africa and her efforts to reduce third world debt.