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Wednesday, 27 June, 2001, 22:59 GMT 23:59 UK
Profile: Sir Michael Spicer
Sir Michael pictured in 1996
Sir Michael's star waned under John Major
Sir Michael Spicer's election to chairmanship of the Conservative 1922 committee caps a parliamentary career stretching back to 1974.

He was privately educated at Wellington College and went on to obtain an MA in economics from Emmanuel College, Cambridge.

He first stood for a House of Commons seat as the Conservative candidate for Easington in the 1966 and then the 1970 general elections.

Four years later Sir Michael was elected MP for South Worcestershire, which he retained until 1997 when, on 1 May, he won the picturesque marginal constituency of West Worcestershire.

Between 1979 and 1981 Sir Michael was parliamentary private secretary to the trade and consumer affairs minister, Sally Oppenheim, and then to Cecil Parkinson.

Deputy chairman

Mr Parkinson - now a Lord - brought him into Conservative Central Office, where Sir Michael deployed his computer expertise in the role of deputy chairman.

Sir Michael first joined the ministerial ladder under Margaret, now Lady, Thatcher.

As junior transport minister between 1984 and 1987, he opposed high air fares and airline cartels.

And between 1987 and 1990 he again worked with Mr Parkinson as energy minister.

Star waned

Sir Michael briefly became housing minister in 1990.

But his star waned under Lady Thatcher's successor John Major because of his increasingly eurosceptic views.

He helped to organise the backbenchers who famously rebelled against the Maastricht treaty but, unlike the hard core of them, was never denied the party whip.

Sir Michael often writes to newspapers as chairman of the European Research Group, a loose coalition of right-wing parties in Europe that believes Britain's economy is too different from the economic cycle of other EU countries and would suffer under the euro's "one size fits all" interest rate.

Managing director

In this parliament he is on the Treasury select committee.

Sir Michael is also captain of the Commons tennis club.

Outside parliament, he was director of the Conservative Systems Research Centre between 1968 and 1970 and then managing director of Economic Models Limited until 1980.

Sir Michael is also president of the Association of Electricity Producers and writes novels, mostly set in the Cotswolds.

Sir Michael - who was knighted in 1996 - married Patricia Ann Hunter in 1967 and they have a son and two daughters.

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See also:

27 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Tories elect new 1922 chairman
14 Jun 01 | UK Politics
The other Tory election
26 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Clarke enters Tory battle
26 Jun 01 | UK Politics
Clarke, a Europhile among sceptics
08 Mar 00 | A-Z of Parliament
1922 Committee
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