Former Thatcher cabinet minister speaks in Aboyne

Michael Portillo
Michael Portillo

Former MP Michael Portillo will travel to Deeside in September to give a talk on his experiences as a politician and TV personality.

The ex member of parliment for Kensington and Chelsea will take the stage at Deeside community theatre, Aboyne to share his story.

Journalist, broadcaster, Conservative Party politician and Cabinet Minister, Portillo was first elected to the House of Commons in a 1984 by-election.

A strong admirer of Margaret Thatcher, and a committed Eurosceptic, Portillo served as a junior minister under both Thatcher and John Major, before entering the cabinet in 1992.

Portillo unexpectedly lost his Enfield Southgate seat at the 1997 general election and political commentators believed he would have been elected Conservative leader had he retained it.

Returning to the Commons through a by-election in Kensington and Chelsea in 1999, Portillo rejoined the front bench as Shadow Chancellor, although his relationship with Conservative Leader William Hague was strained. Standing for the leadership of the party in 2001, Portillo came a narrow third place behind Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke.

Portillo retired from the Commons at the 2005 general election, and has since pursued his media interests, presenting a wide range of television and radio programmes most notable are his regular spot on the political analysis programme This Week and his documentary series Great British Railway Journeys.

Originally meant to be part of the Aboyne and Deeside festival, the talk was moved to September 21 due to scheduling conflicts.

Hugh Moffat from Friends of Aboyne and Deeside festival said: “Michael Portillo is one of the most approachable and likeable former politicians. He doesn’t seem to have been marred by any of the murk that is usually associated with politics and he is basically just a genuinely nice, interesting, intellectual guy, with a truly unique personality and story.”

Tickets are on sale for the talk from Monday (August 12) costing £18, which includes refreshments and can be bought from Aboyne Theatre Box office (013398 86222) or online at www.aboyneanddeesidefestival.org.uk.