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Michael Ancram

Ancram Conservative Party spokesman on Constitutional Affairs, and MP for Devizes.

On the socially concerned left of the Conservative Party, Michael Ancram is popularly recalled as a past supporter of Home Rule - when the Conservatives endorsed such a stance. But he stresses that he opposed devolution in the 1979 referendum - and that he is now fully alert to the hazards which such a course would bring. Properly styled the Earl of Ancram, he doesn't use the title. In addition to his political skills, he is an accomplished folk-singer, accompanying himself on the guitar.

Born in 1945 as the son and heir of the 12th Marquess of Lothian. He was educated at Ampleforth College; Oxford University and Edinburgh University. He became an Advocate in 1970. He was MP for Berwickshire & East Lothian from February to October 1974 and was re-elected as MP for Edinburgh South in 1979, a seat he held until 1987. He was brought back from the political wilderness again 1992 when he took over the safe Tory seat of Devizes which he successfully defended on May 1.

Ancram was Chairman of the Scottish Conservative Party from 1980-83 and then a Scottish Office Minister from 1983-87. During his five year spell 'between seats' from 1987-92 he was a member of the board of Scottish Homes and wrote a column for the Daily Telegraph among other things. After his Devizes victory he became involved in Northern Irish politics, serving firstly as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Northern Ireland Office (NIO) from 1993-94 and then as Minister of State at the NIO from 1994-97. Since the General Election he has been the Conservatives' spokesperson on Constitutional Affairs.

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