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Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian PC, QC, MP (born 7 July 1945), known as Michael Ancram, is a United Kingdommarker Conservative Party politician. He is Member of Parliament for Devizesmarker, and a former member of the Shadow Cabinet.

Early life

Born in Londonmarker, Ancram was educated at Ampleforth Collegemarker, Christ Church, Oxfordmarker (BA History 1966, MA) and the University of Edinburgh (LLB 1968). For many years he was known by the courtesy title Earl of Ancram, as son and heir of the 12th Marquess of Lothian. He is said to have dropped the use of his title after becoming a lawyer, because he believed it might confuse the jury if the judge called him "My Lord".

Ancram is known to many of his friends as Crumb; a nickname attributed to a party in the sixties at which on arrival Ancram introduced himself as "Lord Ancram" and was duly announced as "Mr Norman Crumb".

Member of Parliament

Ancram was first elected to Parliamentmarker in the February 1974 general election, when he contested and won the seat of Berwickshire and East Lothian, but lost the seat in the October election of the same year. He re-entered Parliament at the 1979 election as the Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South, beating future Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He lost his seat again at the 1987 general election, but returned to Parliament at the 1992 election representing Devizes.

He was a member of the House of Commonsmarker Energy Select Committee between 1979 and 1983, and Chairman of the Scottishmarker Conservative and Unionist 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 Council in January 1996.

On 11 August 2009, Ancram announced that he is to stand down as the MP for Devizesmarker at the next general election.

Shadow Cabinet and failed leadership bid

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 in the election for the party leadership. In the first poll of Conservative MPs 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 in the final vote of party members. 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. He stood down from the shadow cabinet in December 2005, following the election of David Cameron as party leader. In January 2006 he was appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee, replacing James Arbuthnot.

Personal life

He married a fellow Roman Catholic, (Theresa) Jane Fitzalan Howard the youngest daughter of the 16th Duke of Norfolk, and has two daughters (Lady Clare Kerr b.1979 and Lady Mary Kerr b.1981). Previously a member of the Faculty of Advocates, he unsuccessfully contested the East Lothian parliamentary seat in 1970. He won Berwick and East Lothian for the Scottish Conservative and Unionist Party in the February 1974 election, only to lose it again in October, then represented Edinburgh South from 1979-87 (his Labour opponent in the 1979 election was Gordon Brown). He has been Member of Parliament for Devizesmarker in Wiltshiremarker since April 1992.

Ancram was a founding signatory in 2005 of the Henry Jackson Society principles, advocating a proactive approach to the spread of liberal democracy across the world, including when necessary by military intervention. However on 21 April 2006 he became one of the first senior Conservative MPs to call for British troops to withdraw from Iraq, saying Iraq was effectively in a state of civil war and "It is time now for us to get out of Iraq with dignity and honour while we still can."


Ancram became the Marquess of Lothian upon his father's death in 2004, but does not use the title in his public life. The House of Lords Act 1999 meant that, on acceding to the peerage, he was not disqualified from sitting in the House of Commons as hereditary peers no longer have an automatic right to sit in the House of Lords. After John Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso and Douglas Hogg, 3rd Viscount Hailsham, he is the third person to have sat in the House of Commons whilst simultaneously being a hereditary peer (other than those with Irish peerages).

Titles from birth

  • Earl of Ancram (1945–1996)
  • The Rt. Hon. Earl of Ancram, PC (1996–2004)
  • The Most Hon. The Marquess of Lothian, PC (2004–present)

Since practising as a barrister, Ancram has not used his title professionally and is usually known as The Rt Hon. Michael Ancram, QC, MP.



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