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Michael Ancram

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Michael Ancram

Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian, PC, QC, MP (born 7 July 1945), known as Michael Ancram, is a British Conservative Party politician. He is Member of Parliament for Devizes, Shadow Defence Secretary, and Deputy Leader in the Shadow Cabinet.

For many years, he was occasionally referred to as the Earl of Ancram, as son and heir of the 12th Marquess of Lothian, but he preferred to be known as Michael Ancram. Although he inherited his father's title upon his death in 2004, it seems unlikely that he will use it. Ancram was educated at Ampleforth College (the 'Catholic Eton'), Christ Church, Oxford (BA History 1966, MA) and Edinburgh University (LLB 1968).

He married the Lady Jane Fitzalan-Howard (daughter of the Duke of Norfolk) in 1975. Previously an Advocate on the Scottish Bar, he unsuccessfully contested the East Lothian parliamentary seat in 1970. He won Berwick and East Lothian in the February 1974 election, only to lose it again in October, then represented Edinburgh South during the Conservative glory years of 1979-87. He has been Member of Parliament for Devizes in Wiltshire since April 1992.

He was a member of the House of Commons Energy Select Committee between 1979 and 1983, and Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party from 1980 to 1983. He was Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Scottish Office with responsibility for Home Affairs, Housing, Local Government, Rating Reform and the Environment from 1983 until 1987.

He was a member of the Public Accounts Committee and Chairman of the Backbench Constitutional Affairs Committee from 1992 until May 1993, when he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office. He was promoted to Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office in January 1994, and was made a Privy Councillor in January 1996.

After the Conservatives' defeat at the 1997 election he served in the Shadow Cabinet as Constitutional Affairs Spokesman from June 1997 to June 1998, and as Chairman of the Conservative Party from October 1998 to September 2001.

In 2001 he stood against Iain Duncan Smith, Michael Portillo, Kenneth Clarke and David Davis for the party leadership. In the first poll he and David Davis were tied for last place, leading to a re-run in which Ancram was placed bottom. He was eliminated, and Davis withdrew. Both swung their support behind Iain Duncan Smith, who went on to win, beating Clarke and Portillo in the second round. Duncan Smith made Ancram Deputy Leader of the Opposition and Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in September 2001. He remained in this position after Michael Howard took over in 2003.

In the reshuffle following the 2005 election Ancram was moved to Shadow Secretary of State for Defence but remained Deputy Leader.

See also

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Preceded by:
Peter Kerr
Marquess of Lothian Succeeded by:
Current Incumbent
sv:Michael Ancram
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