Best known for:
A plethora of influential radio and television documentaries including his BBC 2 series "Great British (and recently Continental) Railway Journeys", BBC 1's sardonic political "This week", and Radio 4's "Moral Maze".
Since leaving politics, Michael has devoted himself to writing and broadcasting. Charming and charismatic, he is a regular on both BBC 1's "This Week" programme and Radio 4's "The Moral Maze". He has made radio and television documentaries on a wide range of subjects, including three series of "Great British Railway Journeys" for BBC 2.
Michael Portillo attended Harrow County grammar school and Peterhouse, Cambridge, where he read history.
He worked for the Conservative Party and for government ministers between 1976 and 1983. He entered the House of Commons in 1984. He was a minister for eleven years and had three positions in the Cabinet, including Secretary of State for Defence.
He lost his seat at the 1997 election, and began to develop a career in the media. He returned to the Commons between 2000 and 2005, was shadow Chancellor, and contested the leadership of the party in 2001, unsuccessfully.
Since leaving politics, he has devoted himself to writing and broadcasting. He is a regular on both BBC 1’s “This Week” programme and Radio 4’s "The Moral Maze”. He has made radio and television documentaries on a wide range of subjects, including three series of "Great British Railway Journeys" for BBC2. In 2008 he chaired the judges of the Man Booker prize, and chaired the Art Fund prize for museums and galleries in 2011.
In 2008 he chaired the judges of the Man Booker prize, in 2011 he chaired the Art Fund Prize and in 2012 he chaired the committee recommending grants for endowment to arts and heritage institutions under the government’s Catalyst programme.
Michael was a member of the International Commission on Missing Persons in the former Yugoslavia (which organises the identification of massacre victims) from 1998 to 2012. He sat on of the Board of BAE Systems plc from 2002 to 2006 and of Kerr McGee Corporation during 2006. He is President of DebRA, the national charity working on behalf of people with the genetic skin blistering condition, Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB). He was British chairman of the British-Spanish Tertulias (an annual high level conference) 2004-2008.