Michael Ancram is quietly but exceedingly aristocratic. The son and heir of the 12th marquess of Lothian, married to the daughter of Duke and Duchess of Norfolk, dropped using his title back when he was a lawyer, is unflashy about his considerable wealth and pursues blue-blooded activities like field sports only discreetly.
He is also a skilled skier, winning the second fastest time in the Anglo-Swiss ski race in Davos in 1988. More public activities are his playing and singing of folk songs on the guitar at Tory gatherings, and his writing of short stories. He is also a keen photographer.
An Ancram victory would have given the Tories their first multilingual leader for a generation: he is fluent in French and Italian, partly the result of going to a French-speaking Swiss school before attending Ampleforth.
Though coming from a more than comfortable background, he had to claw his way to the Commons, twice losing his seat - he was an MP for all of eight months between the February and October general elections of 1974, and then lost the Edinburgh South seat he won in 1979 to Scotlandís left turn in 1987 - before settling in super-safe Devizes in 1992.