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Michael Portillo


An accomplished and powerful speaker, The Rt Hon Michael Portillo is frequently invited to address a wide variety of audiences. He is invited as a keynote speaker, commentator on the Budget and as an after dinner speaker for national and international business audiences, and for awards ceremonies and social occasions where his humour and wit are appreciated.

Michael Portillo was Member of Parliament for Kensington & Chelsea until May 2005. His experience is extensive, both as a Member of Parliament and as a Minister, and he is one of the high profile members of the Conservative Party.
Born in London in 1953, he was educated at Harrow and was awarded a First Class Honours Degree in History from Peterhouse College, Cambridge. His father Luis came to Britain as a refugee at the end of the Spanish Civil War. His mother, Cora, was brought up in Fife and she met Luis whilst she was an undergraduate at Oxford. Michael left Cambridge in 1975 and for a year worked for a shipping company. He spent three years at the Conservative Research Department. At the General Election in 1979 he was responsible for briefing Margaret Thatcher before her press conferences. He spent the next two years as special adviser to the Secretary of State for Energy. He worked for McGee Oil (UK) Ltd from 1981-83. He contested the Birmingham Perry Bar seat at the 1983 election. In 1982 Michael married Carolyn - they first met when they were at school.
Michael returned to politics as a special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Nigel Lawson. In December 1984 he won the by-election for Enfield Southgate and represented the seat for 13 years. He was a whip, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Social Security, Minister of State for Transport and Minister of State for Local Government and Inner Cities. As a Minister he was Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Secretary of State for Employment, and Secretary of State for Defence. He was admitted to the Privy Council in 1992. After his election defeat in 1997, he returned to McGee Oil as an adviser.
Michael remains in the public eye through his media work. He enjoys presenting television programmes, radio broadcasting and writing. He has written about walking as a pilgrim on the Santiago Way and on working as a hospital porter. He has a weekly column in The Scotsman. He had a series for Channel 4 entitled Portillo's Progress and a highly-acclaimed programme in BBC2's Great Railway Journeys series, partly a biography of his father. He has presented radio programmes on Wagner, the Spanish Civil War and also a programme on Elizabeth I, as part of the BBC’s very successful Great Britons series. TV viewers saw him take on the role of a single mother in Wallasey, including caring for her children and working in both her part-time jobs. He is seen on BBC’s This Week on Thursday evenings.
Michael Portillo is a member of the International Commission on Missing Persons in the former Yugoslavia (organising the identification of massacre victims) and he serves on the advisory council of the Institute for International Studies at Stanford, California, USA.