Insurtech guru to stand as MP to protect start-ups

james clarke

A senior insurtech boss will stand as an independent MP in the next election, as part of a mission to safeguard the economic environment for insurance start-ups.

James Clarke, head of sales and partnerships at a London-based start-up, will stand as an independent candidate for the constituency of Bermondsey and Old Southwark in the next General Election on June 8. 

As a pro-EU candidate, Clarke has said that Brexit will have detrimental effects on financial services and their ability to innovate.

Clarke said that, if he is elected, he will be placing pressure on the government to ensure that technological innovation is protected despite Brexit.

He added: “I want to protect the existing rights of those who came to the UK in good faith, to work and to help build our insurance and tech sectors.

“The vote to leave the EU has already affected the welcoming economic environment necessary for start-ups to thrive. This threatens to have a deleterious effect on innovation specifically and financial services in the UK in general.

“We still have two years left to pressure the next government, a major reason why I decided to stand is to get the message out that it's not over yet and there is a hell of a lot that can be done in the coming months to affect the final outcome.”

Clarke has said that he will work to protect research and development tax credits for start-ups guaranteed regardless of the outcome of Brexit, fight for the right to remain for all existing EU employees in the start-up technology space as well as the same rights for UK citizens in EU countries.

“We have a fabulous pool of talent here and I am constantly impressed with what we are achieving as a small group of innovators within a world-beating national industry,” said Clarke.

“Anything that imperils this success needs to be opposed with both barrels. The two central issues are freedom of movement and passporting of financial services. If these can be protected without major disruption after 2019, then there is a good chance that the insurtech community in the UK can continue to lead the way.”

Clarke is unsure that he will actually win the election and was unable to say whether or not he will keep his day job if he is elected.

“Realistically, Bermondsey and Old Southwark is a two-horse-race between the Liberal Democrats and Labour,” said Clarke.

"Barring an act of God (or several), there is a vanishingly small chance of me winning the race. As a guide, in the last election, an independent candidate ran and managed 71 votes in total.”

Clarke currently works for Digital Fineprint.

Candidates for Bermondsey and Old Southwark are:

Conservative:  Siobhan Baillie

Independent: James Clarke

Labour: Neil Coyle

Liberal Democrat: Simon Hughes

UKIP: Elizabeth Jones

Green: John Tyson

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