After leaving Cambridge, Michael Portillo spent a brief spell in the business world before beginning his career in politics where he held a number of Cabinet positions including Secretary of State for Employment and Defence. He was also Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer. Michael acts as a business advisor and has appeared on television presenting such programmes as Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys in addition to contributing to Radio 4’s The Moral Maze. Michael also regularly reviews politics with Andrew Neil on the late-night show, This Week.
Considered by many to be the greatest leader the Conservative Party never had, Michael began his political career in the Tory Party research department before becoming an advisor to the Secretary of State for Energy where his attention was focused on the privatization of oil, gas, electricity and coal. In 1984, Michael became an MP and was quickly appointed a Government Whip. He followed this with the post of Under-Secretary at the Department of Health and Social Security, later promoted to Minister of State for Transport and then Local Government. It was during this period that he oversaw the abolition of the Poll Tax. As a Cabinet Minister, Michael served as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Employment Secretary and ultimately took the top job in Defence. In all, Michael spent over 35 years serving under the Thatcher and Major regimes before leaving politics for a career in the media.
Now firmly established as a leading broadcaster, he is perhaps best known for his television series Great British Railway Journeys and Great Continental Railway Journeys on BBC2 and his former regular appearance alongside Andrew Neil on the late night show, This Week. Other credits include documentaries on Spain, the natural world, the arts and on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze discussing ethical dilemmas.
Michael is an accomplished political and after dinner speaker and is also much in demand as an awards, conference host and facilitator.