Michael Heseltine

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Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Baron Heseltine, CH, PC (born 21 March 1933) is a British businessman, Conservative politician and patron of the Tory Reform Group.

A self-made millionaire, Heseltine entered Parliament in 1966. Entering the Cabinet in 1979 as Secretary of State for the Environment, he became Secretary of State for Defence by 1983. Instrumental in the battle against the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, he was widely considered an adept media performer and charismatic Minister. Heseltine, frequently at odds with Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, resigned from the Cabinet in 1986 over the Westland Affair and returned to the backbenches. Following Geoffrey Howe's resignation speech in November 1990, Heseltine challenged the incumbent Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, for the leadership of the Conservative Party, polling well enough to deny her an outright victory on the first ballot. Following her resignation in a dramatic Tory "palace coup", Heseltine returned to the Cabinet under her successor John Major.

Under John Major, of whom he eventually became a key ally, Heseltine rose to become President of the Board of Trade and from 1995, Deputy Prime Minister and First Secretary of State. Declining to seek the leadership of the Conservative Party following the 1997 election defeat, Heseltine remained a vocal voice for modernisation in the Party and is widely considered a leading elder statesman in the United Kingdom.


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