Michael Ancram

Michael Ancram
The Most Honourable
The Marquess of Lothian
Shadow Foreign Secretary
In office
18 September 2001 – 10 May 2005
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Michael Howard
Preceded by Francis Maude
Succeeded by Liam Fox
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
In office
10 May 2005 – 6 December 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Nicholas Soames
Succeeded by Liam Fox
Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party
In office
18 September 2001 – 6 December 2005
Leader Michael Howard
Preceded by Michael Portillo
Succeeded by William Hague
Chairman of the Conservative Party
In office
2 December 1998 – 7 June 2001
Leader William Hague
Preceded by Cecil Parkinson
Succeeded by David Davis
Member of Parliament
for Devizes
In office
9 April 1992 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Charles Morrison
Succeeded by Claire Perry
Member of Parliament
for Edinburgh South
In office
3 May 1979 – 11 June 1987
Preceded by Michael Clark Hutchison
Succeeded by Nigel Griffiths
Member of Parliament
for Berwick and East Lothian
In office
28 February 1974 – 10 October 1974
Preceded by John Mackintosh
Succeeded by John Mackintosh
Personal details
Born 7 July 1945 (1945-07-07) (age 66)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Theresa Howard
Alma mater Christ Church, Oxford, University of Edinburgh

Michael Andrew Foster Jude Kerr, 13th Marquess of Lothian, PC, QC (born 7 July 1945), known as Michael Ancram, is a United Kingdom Conservative Party politician. He is a member of the House of Lords, former Member of Parliament, and a former member of the Shadow Cabinet. He is also currently the Chief of the Scottish Kerr Clan.[1]


Early life and education

Michael Ancram was born in London, and is of Scottish descent.[2] He was educated at Ampleforth College, an independent school in North Yorkshire, followed by Christ Church at the University of Oxford (BA History 1966, MA), where he was a member of the Bullingdon Club,[3] and the University of Edinburgh (LLB 1968).

Life and career

Ancram was called to the Scottish bar in 1970 and continued to practise as an advocate until 1979, apart from a brief period in 1974 when he first sat as an MP.[4] He became a Queen's Counsel in 1996.[5]

Member of Parliament

Ancram unsuccessfully contested the West Lothian parliamentary seat in 1970. He was first elected to Parliament 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 Commons Energy Select Committee between 1979 and 1983, and Chairman of the Scottish 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 lost his seat in 1987 but returned to Parliament in 1992 and 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 Councillor in January 1996.

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.[6] In January 2006 he was appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee, replacing James Arbuthnot.

Later years as an MP

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. 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."[7]

Ancram is a founder member of the Top Level Group of UK Parliamentarians for Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament and Non-proliferation,[8] established in October 2009.

In 2006 he set up Global Strategy Forum www.globalstrategyforum.org, a bi-partisan foreign affairs think tank based in London.

On 11 August 2009, Ancram announced that he was to stand down as the MP for Devizes at the 2010 general election due to heart problems.[9] He retired when Parliament was dissolved on 12 April 2010; his successor as Conservative member for the Devizes constituency is Claire Perry.[10]

Life peerage

On 21 October 2010 it was announced that Ancram was to be granted a life peerage, allowing him to sit in the House of Lords.[11] He was introduced in the House of Lords on 22 November 2010, the same day that his life peerage was created.[12][13]

Personal life

Ancram married Lady Jane Fitzalan-Howard, the youngest daughter of the 16th Duke of Norfolk, and has two daughters: Lady Clare Kerr (born 1979), who is married to Hon Nick Hurd MP, son of former cabinet minister Douglas Hurd; and Lady Mary Kerr (born 1981). As his titles cannot pass through the female line, his heir presumptive is his younger brother Lord Ralph Kerr. However, his elder daughter is likely to succeed in due course to the Lordship of Herries currently held by his wife's eldest sister. His younger sister, Lady Cecil Cameron OBE (2002), married David Cameron's 6th cousin and Clan Chieftan, Donald Cameron of Lochiel.

He is a keen country music fan and has often played acoustic guitar at Conservative Party conferences.[14]

Name and titles


Although his family name is Kerr, Michael Ancram was known from birth 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 this title in favour of plain Mr Michael Ancram after becoming a lawyer, because he believed it might confuse the jury if the judge called him "My Lord".[15]

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".[2]

Ancram became the Marquess of Lothian upon his father's death in 2004, but did not use the title in his public life while still an MP. 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. Excluding Irish peers, he was, after John Sinclair, 3rd Viscount Thurso and Douglas Hogg, 3rd Viscount Hailsham, the third person to have sat in the House of Commons while simultaneously being a hereditary peer.

On 22 November 2010, he was created a life peer as Baron Kerr of Monteviot, of Monteviot in Roxburghshire.[13] In common with other hereditary peers who sit in the House of Lords by virtue of life peerages, Lord Lothian will swear the oath each session as Lord Kerr of Monteviot, but will be known as the Marquess of Lothian during all parliamentary business and in official records such as Hansard.[16]

Titles from birth

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


  1. ^ THE KERRS James of Glencarr
  2. ^ a b MichaelAncram.com[dead link]
  3. ^ 1966 Club Photo
  4. ^ "MP Michael Ancram". UK Political Parties Directory. http://www.thepoliticalparties.com/UK_Political_Parties/Conservative_Parties/Conservative_MPs_Parties/MP_Michael_Ancram/337919-38540.html. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  5. ^ "Profile: Michael Ancram - The next leader of the Tories?". The Independent. 27 November 1999. http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/profile-michael-ancram--the-next-leader-of-the-tories-1128882.html. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  6. ^ "Ancram to stand down from Shadow Cabinet". Conservative Party. 4 October 2005. http://www.conservatives.com/tile.do?def=news.story.page&obj_id=125517. Retrieved 1 November 2006. 
  7. ^ "Tory MP urges Iraq troop pull-out". BBC News. 21 April 2006. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/4929180.stm. Retrieved 1 November 2006. 
  8. ^ Borger, Julian (8 September 2009). "Nuclear-free world ultimate aim of new cross-party pressure group". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/sep/08/nuclear-disarmament-cross-party-group. 
  9. ^ Prince, Rosa (11 August 2009). "Michael Ancram to stand down as MP". The Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/6009691/Michael-Ancram-to-stand-down-as-MP.html. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  10. ^ "Claire Perry chosen for Devizes". BBC News. 6 November 2009. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/politics_show/regions/west/8346502.stm. Retrieved 12 May 2010. 
  11. ^ Peerage for the Rt Hon Michael Ancram, 10 Downing Street, 21 October 2010
  12. ^ House of Lords Minute of Proceedings, 22 November 2010, Item 2.
  13. ^ a b London Gazette: no. 59614. p. 22705. 25 November 2010.
  14. ^ "Ancram, the emollient earl". BBC News. 21 June 2001. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1400263.stm. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 
  15. ^ Rachel Sylvester and George Jones (27 June 2001). "Ancram offers healing hands to Tories". Daily Telegraph. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2001/06/22/ntory222.xml. Retrieved 1 November 2006. 
  16. ^ "Marquess of Lothian". UK Parliament website. http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/michael-ancram/25776. Retrieved 27 November 2010. 

External links

Offices held

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Mackintosh
Member of Parliament for Berwick and East Lothian
February 1974October 1974
Succeeded by
John Mackintosh
Preceded by
Michael Clark Hutchison
Member of Parliament for Edinburgh South
Succeeded by
Nigel Griffiths
Preceded by
Charles Morrison
Member of Parliament for Devizes
Succeeded by
Claire Perry
Political offices
Preceded by
Francis Maude
Shadow Foreign Secretary
Succeeded by
Liam Fox
Preceded by
Nicholas Soames
Shadow Secretary of State for Defence
Party political offices
Preceded by
Cecil Parkinson
Chairman of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
David Davis
Preceded by
Michael Portillo
Deputy Leader of the Conservative Party
Succeeded by
William Hague
Peerage of Scotland
Preceded by
Peter Kerr
Marquess of Lothian
Preceded by
The Most. Hon. the Marquess of Tweeddale
United Kingdom Order of Precedence

The Most Honourable the Marquess of Lothian
Succeeded by
The Most Hon. The Marquess of Lansdowne

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