Michael Portillo’s father was a refugee from the Spanish Civil War who met Michael’s Scottish mother caring for children evacuated to Britain from the conflict. Michael attended a London grammar school and then Cambridge where he took a First in History. He joined the Conservative Party Research Department shortly after graduating and was a ministerial special adviser in the first Thatcher government. He entered the House of Commons in 1984, was defeated in 1997 and was elected afresh between 2000 – 05. He was a minister for 11 years and held 3 cabinet posts including Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Secretary of State for Defence. Since leaving Parliament he has focused on broadcasting. He appears on the weekly BBC1 show This Week and he is a regular on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. His many documentaries for radio and television have covered music, history, wildlife and politics. He has also presented the highly successful BBC2 series Great British Railway Journeys. He chaired the Man Booker fiction prize in 2008 and is president of Debra, a charity helping the victims of a disfiguring hereditary skin condition called EB. Michael is an accomplished after dinner speaker and event host.