Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo (born 26 May 1953) is a British journalist, broadcaster, and former Conservative Party politician and Cabinet Minister. Portillo was first elected to the House of Commons in a by-election in 1984; a strong admirer of Margaret Thatcher, and a Eurosceptic, Portillo served as a junior minister under both Thatcher and John Major, before entering the cabinet in 1992. Seen as a likely challenger to Major during the 1995 Conservative leadership election, he stayed loyal. As Defence Secretary, he pressed for a purist Thatcherite course of "clear blue water", separating the policies of the Conservatives from Labour.Portillo unexpectedly lost his Enfield Southgate seat at the 1997 general election; 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.