David Davis MP cut his teeth in the Conservative whips office during the rows over the Maastricht Treaty. His love of extreme sports has included cartwheeling out of aircraft with a parachute.
An ex-member of the Territorial SAS, much has been made of his atypical Tory background - he grew up on a London council estate, and his Communist grandfather was on the 1936 Jarrow march.
After four years as chairman of the Public Accounts Committee, Mr Davis stood for the leadership of the Conservative party in 2001, won by Iain Duncan Smith. Mr Davis finished fourth.
Appointed Tory party chairman in 2001 by Iain Duncan Smith, he was controversially shuffled out of his post the following year while on holiday with his family.
His career was revived when he was appointed Shadow Home Secretary by incoming Tory leader Michael Howard in 2003.
In 2005, Mr Davis stood again for the Tory leadership. The t-shirts worn by his supporters attracted much comment.
Mr Davis was defeated by David Cameron in the 2005 leadership vote, but was re-appointed Shadow Home Secretary.
In 2008 he resigned as an MP, announcing that he intended to fight his Haltemprice and Howden seat over the new 42 days detention limit.