More a fear of crowds than open spaces. Perhaps also Hackphobia – fear of questions from Journos on the stupid things you said.
Recently-appointed Simon Clarke MP expected to address party faithful in Birmingham via videolink due to ongoing fear of open spaces.
Levelling Up secretary Simon Clarke was expected to make his Conservative party conference speech via videolink as he suffers from a fear of open spaces.
Instead of the traditional set-piece speech on the stage outlining his policies, Clarke was due to address delegates remotely.
He has agoraphobia, which means he is afraid of open spaces in some situations. In his previous role as Chief Secretary to the Treasury he was unable to appear in a photoshoot before the Budget with former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak.
“I won’t be outside for the photos in Downing Street as I live with agoraphobia – which prevents me being comfortable in some open spaces – but will be busy in Parliament and out in the country,” he tweeted at the time, in 2021.
Clarke, who is seen as loyalist to new Prime Minister Liz Truss, was appointed as the new Secretary for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities last month.
The 38-year-old has some housing credentials having worked at what used to be the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government for seven months in 2020.
His appointment made Clarke the sixth secretary of state since housing was added to the department’s title in 2018 and followed his predecessor, Greg Clark, who was in post for just nine weeks, and before that, Michael Gove.
He holds a ‘Red Wall’ seat as the MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, where he was elected in 2017.