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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 August 2005, 15:48 GMT 16:48 UK
WITHDRAWN: Malcolm Rifkind
Sir Malcolm Rifkind
Sir Malcolm returned to the Commons in May, 2005

Date of birth: 21 June 1946
Job: Shadow work and pensions secretary
Education: George Watson's College; Edinburgh University
Family: Married, son and daughter

On his party's future: "Conservatives are not reactionary defenders of the status quo. Sometimes if you want things to stay the same, things have to change."

What the press says: "Malcolm Rifkind is an able, decent man, but lacks the steel for leadership; former colleagues recall a lot of ministerial dithering, too many mumbled threats of resignation. Whatever his birth certificate says, he looks old," Max Hastings, The Guardian.


Sir Malcolm Rifkind's election as the MP for Kensington and Chelsea marked the former foreign secretary's return from eight years in the political wilderness.

He was one of political big beasts to fall in 1997, a victim of Labour's landslide, and he failed to regain Edinburgh Pentlands in 2001.

As soon as he won the safe Tory seat of Kensington and Chelsea he was brought back into the shadow cabinet by Michael Howard as work and pensions spokesman.

Sir Malcolm prospered under Margaret Thatcher rising through the ministerial ranks to become transport secretary, and then defence secretary and foreign secretary under John Major.

He is firmly identified with the left of the Conservative Party.

He lectured at the University of Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) from 1967 to 1968 before returning to Scotland to pursue his legal and political ambitions.

CV: Sir Malcolm Rifkind, 59, shadow work and pensions secretary
Key Quote: "We need to win back the millions of people who do not think of themselves as Conservatives but who voted for us in the past."
Best joke: "He is Bill Clinton without the sex.... so far as we know" (about Tony Blair)
Ovations: Eight rounds of applause - finale wins 56 seconds
Speech length: 17 minutes, 10 seconds
Name drops: Many Churchills, no Thatchers
Nick Assinder's verdict: Can still wow Tory activist with One Nation vision

In 1970, he was called to the Scottish Bar and four years later Sir Malcolm entered the House of Commons as the Conservative MP for Edinburgh Pentlands - a seat he represented for 21 years.

Sir Malcolm was quickly noticed by Margaret Thatcher who made him spokesman on Scottish affairs in 1975.

Just one year later his career suffered a temporary setback when he resigned the position in protest at Mrs Thatcher's hostile views on the establishment of a Scottish assembly.

Mrs Thatcher held no long-term animosity towards Sir Malcolm and appointed him as under secretary of state at the Scottish Office when she swept to power in 1979.

In 1983 he was promoted to minister of state at the Foreign Office, and three years later he became Scottish Secretary.

That appointment made him a full member of the UK cabinet, a position he would occupy in different roles for the next 11 years.

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