Mar 25

Michael Portillo

January 30th 2012 For the majority of his career MICHAEL PORTILLO has been involved in politics. Since leaving politics in 2005 he has devoted himself to writing and broadcasting. He writes for the Sunday Times and is a regular on both BBC 1’s “This Week” programme and Radio 4’s “Moral Maze”, and has made documentaries on subjects as diverse as Richard Wagner and the death penalty. In 2008 he chaired the judges of the Man Booker prize. Sponsored by THOMPSON, SMITH & PUXON (Solicitors), Clacton-on-Sea.

Michael Portillo

Michael Portillo was born in North London in 1953. His father, Luis, had come to Britain as a refugee at the end of the Spanish Civil War, and his mother, Cora, was brought up in Fife. She met Luis while she was an undergraduate at Oxford.
Michael attended a grammar school, Harrow County, and went to Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he gained a first class degree in History.
He left Cambridge in 1975, and for a year worked for a shipping company. He moved to the Conservative Research Department in 1976, where he spent three years. At the General Election in 1979 he was responsible for briefing Margaret Thatcher before her press conferences. For the next two years he was special adviser to the Secretary of State for Energy.
He worked for Kerr McGee Oil (UK) Ltd from 1981 – 1983. He contested the Birmingham Perry Bar seat at the 1983 Election.
In 1982 Michael and Carolyn married. They had first met when they were at school.
Carolyn had become a chartered accountant and for the last fifteen years has been a ‘headhunter’ with Spencer Stuart Associates.
Michael returned to politics as a special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Nigel Lawson) and in December 1984 won the by-election in Enfield Southgate, caused by the murder of Sir Anthony Berry MP in the Brighton bombing. Michael represented the seat for thirteen years but was defeated in the 1997 Election.
He joined the Government in 1986, and remained a member until 1997. He was a whip, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Social Security, Minister of State for Transport, Minister of State for Local Government and Inner Cities; and as a Cabinet Minister 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 1997 electoral defeat, Michael returned to Kerr McGee as an adviser. He also turned to journalism. He wrote about walking as a pilgrim on the Santiago Way, and working as a hospital porter. He had a weekly column in The Scotsman. He had a three part series for Channel 4 about politics Portillo’s Progress, and a programme in BBC2’s Great Railway Journeys series, which was partly a biography of his late father, and radio programmes on Wagner and the Spanish Civil War.
Michael Portillo was born in North London in 1953. His father, Luis, had come to Britain as a refugee at the end of the Spanish Civil War, and his mother, Cora, was brought up in Fife. She met Luis while she was an undergraduate at Oxford.
Michael attended a grammar school, Harrow County, and went to Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he gained a first class degree in History.
He left Cambridge in 1975, and for a year worked for a shipping company. He moved to the Conservative Research Department in 1976, where he spent three years. At the General Election in 1979 he was responsible for briefing Margaret Thatcher before her press conferences. For the next two years he was special adviser to the Secretary of State for Energy.
He worked for Kerr McGee Oil (UK) Ltd from 1981 – 1983. He contested the Birmingham Perry Bar seat at the 1983 Election.
In 1982 Michael and Carolyn married. They had first met when they were at school.
Carolyn had become a chartered accountant and for the last fifteen years has been a ‘headhunter’ with Spencer Stuart Associates.
Michael returned to politics as a special adviser to the Chancellor of the Exchequer (Nigel Lawson) and in December 1984 won the by-election in Enfield Southgate, caused by the murder of Sir Anthony Berry MP in the Brighton bombing. Michael represented the seat for thirteen years but was defeated in the 1997 Election.
He joined the Government in 1986, and remained a member until 1997. He was a whip, Parliamentary Under Secretary for Social Security, Minister of State for Transport, Minister of State for Local Government and Inner Cities; and as a Cabinet Minister 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 1997 electoral defeat, Michael returned to Kerr McGee as an adviser. He also turned to journalism. He wrote about walking as a pilgrim on the Santiago Way, and working as a hospital porter. He had a weekly column in The Scotsman. He had a three part series for Channel 4 about politics Portillo’s Progress, and a programme in BBC2’s Great Railway Journeys series, which was partly a biography of his late father, and radio programmes on Wagner and the Spanish Civil War. align=”left”> Michael was re-elected to Parliament in a by-election in Kensington and Chelsea in November 1999 and was Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer February 2000 – September 2001. Following the Conservatives’ election defeat in 2001, Michael unsuccessfully contested the leadership of the party. In 2005 Michael left the House of Commons.He has made a number of television programmes for BBC2 including Art that shook the world: Richard Wagner’s Ring, Portillo in Euroland, Elizabeth I in the series Great Britons, When Michael Portillo became a single mum, Portillo Goes Wild in Spain (a natural history programme) and The Science of Killing (for Horizon). There followed documentaries on the unburied bodies from the Spanish Civil War and Guantanamo Bay. In 2010 BBC Radio 4 carried his 3-part series “Democracy on Trial”. For BBC4 he has made several series of Dinner with Portillo, a discussion programme, and in 2008 The Lady’s not for Spurning (about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy). In 2006 he joined The Moral Maze team on BBC Radio 4. In 2003 he began the weekly political discussion programme This Week on BBC1 with fellow presenters Andrew Neil and Diane Abbott MP. Beginning in 2004 Michael became a frequent columnist on The Sunday Times and was the theatre critic of The New Statesman between 2004 and 2006. In 2008 he chaired the judges of the Man Booker prize.

2 comments

  1. Michael Portillo 30/1/2012.
    The members of the Arts and Literary Society experienced an evening of delightful political nonsense as Michael Portillo portrayed his life in politics and after.There were non-stop jokes about various happenings in parliament to start his lecture, which was followed by his life history. This started with his father who escaped from Spain when General Franco won the civil war as he was on the opposite side whilst his brothers fought for General Franco. Apparently his father was impressed by British democracy.

    Michael was an extremely interesting and lively speaker who told his life story in a very frank and amusing way. He answered many varied questions from the audience for nearly an hour, was never lost for words or honest answers to questions on politics, his various journeys on the railway for the BBC and almost anything else the members could throw at him.

    The evening was attended by the Chairman and Vice Chairman of Tendring District Council and was sponsored by Thompson, Smith and Puxon, Solicitors

    Audrey Owens
    Press Officer

  2. I wanted to write a report about our night spent in the company of multi talented and, lately, public raconteur extraordinaire – Michael Portillo superlatives like handsome, articulate, extremely well presented came to mind but the whole evening can be summed up by one word really -`stupendous.` With not a sign of notes this very well prepared programme was eagerly devoured by a packed theatre of enthusiastic members and also many who came just for the evening.

    The first half was speckled with humorous anecdote and this man was not at all afraid to admit defeats along the very varied path of life he has so far trodden. From adviser and close confidant of one of the most famous prime ministers of all time – Margaret `Iron lady` Thatcher , to his many and varied documentaries and appearances on political programmes to his regular columns on many subjects in the news paper media.

    In the second half he answered questions from the floor which again displayed his polished, yet never compromising, expert way of communication-his replies never too complicated but succinct in the extreme.

    This was truly a spectacular coup for the society – Cindy Hardy continues to amaze us with the sheer calibre and variety of the artistes she manages to bring to Clacton throughout the winter period.

    Jennifer Kersey.

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