The Rt Hon Michael Portillo
The former MP and cabinet minister Michael Portillo is now firmly established as a popular broadcaster and political commentator. Alongside television series on Spain, rail travel around Britain and Europe, and the natural world, he shares the sofa for a sardonic look at politics on This Week and weighs up ethical dilemmas on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze.
Michael began his career in the Conservative Party research department, developing policies for reducing the role of the state. He then became an advisor to the Secretary of State for Energy, working on privatisation schemes in oil, gas, electricity and coal.
Winning a parliamentary seat in the 1984 General Election, Michael was soon appointed a Government Whip and then Under-Secretary at the Department of Health & Social Security. In turn he was promoted to Minister of State for Transport then Local Government, where he oversaw the abolition of the poll tax. He entered Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, controlling public spending and managing departmental allocations. He became Employment Secretary two years later, and finally took over at Defence. In total he served for thirty years in national politics with over a decade as a minister in the Thatcher and Major governments.
After leaving Westminster, Michael reinvented himself as a broadcaster and is a regular on TV and radio. He is perhaps best known for his five series of Great British Railway Journeys and two series of Great Continental Railway Journeys on BBC 2, exploring social and industrial history as he travels.
Michael is a most charismatic, eloquent, informed and humorous speaker and host and feedback on his presentations includes:
“Michael hit the spot with our very diverse partner base.” Allen & Overy
“Michael Portillo brought the house down with his humour, which was slightly unexpected but extremely enjoyable. It’s a rare talent to be able to blend incredibly incisive and intelligent commentary with hilarity and he held the audience inn the palm of his hand … The feedback was fantastic”. Sheila Manchester, Editorial Director, Propertydrum magazine
“Michael was very interesting and entertaining with the right amount of humour. It was lovely that he took the trouble to walk around the tables and meet everybody. I’ve never seen a speaker actually do that before. It was a nice touch.” MIRA
“He ticked every box! … He went down really well, very professional and funny at the same time. He ran the awards part of the evening brilliantly.” Legal Business Awards
“Thank you for your excellent talk at the R3 Annual Conference at Celtic Manor recently …. Feedback was excellent” R3
“It was a pleasure to deal with someone who made our lives easier, not harder.” HouseBuilder Media
“Portillo was an inspired choice” Hemming Group
“Michael was a fantastic speaker” APM
“A very entertaining after dinner speaker, held the room with tales from the rich and varied life of a politician come broadcaster with gravitas, humour and a touch of humility.” AIRMIC
“Excellent speaker. Took time out during the dinner to visit each table and talk with the delegates providing a good experience for our guests. Small tip for organisers please double check equipment requirements with Michael as he changed his requirements on the evening” GWE Business West
“Michael did a great job. He gave me a clear indication of the content of his presentation and took the time to call me before the event to discuss how it would pan out in terms of format and appropriateness of content. He really seemed bothered about getting it right, which was a delight! We had great feedback and happy punters. Excellent.” WBR
“Very friendly and charming, the first speaker we have had who went to all the tables to chat to the guests during dinner. His after dinner talk was very entertaining and enjoyable.” Teenage Cancer Trust
“Michael was very well received, spoke well and by not using a lecture created an intimacy with the audience which comprised over 400 people.” PPP Forum Ltd
“I just wanted to thank you for your excellent talk last week in Harrogate. I know from all the very positive feedback that the guests relished your every word.” Vertex Data Science
“Michael’s role was to an informal one to help stimulate discussion and debate at an informal private dining environment which he fulfilled very well. He said a few words up front, handled questions and challenges from our guests very well and got the debate and discussion moving around the table adeptly. We will definitely consider using Michael again” Aviva Investors
“It went really well and Michael was an excellent speaker. He was a great choice so thank you for suggesting him. The audience really enjoyed having him there and we felt he came into his own when taking questions from the floor.” CB Richard Ellis
“In our briefing note, we asked Michael for his perspective on the future economic and political picture and he more than delivered. The feedback from our lunch guests rated Michael as ‘excellent’.” Investment Property Forum
“Perhaps the most accomplished speaker I have seen. Incredibly engaging and great company too.” Allianz
“Michael Portillo was excellent. Certainly amongst the best speakers we have had in 20 years of this Conference.” CIH South West
“Please pass on our thanks to Michael Portillo. He was excellent at the Awards dinner yesterday and many of our sponsors and guests have commented how much they enjoyed his contribution.” Laing & Buisson
“Michael Portillo was excellent, we were very pleased with him indeed and received great feedback. He covered everything we asked and his prep was great. He was funny and had good anecdotes as well. Defiantly the best speaker we have had.” JMW Solicitors LLP
“As expected, Michael’s talk was superb and was very well received by our guests.” Merrill Lynch
“Michael was an excellent host for our awards – charismatic, entertaining and managed the audience well. He was received very positively by the audience, with several people commenting to me that they were looking forward to seeing him – and he didn’t disappoint!” Mergermarket Ltd
“Absolutely fantastic! He worked the room brilliantly, kept everything moving at a great pace and completely made the night.” Rail Business Awards