Michael Denzil Xavier Portillo (born 26 May 1953) is a British journalist, broadcaster, and former Conservative politician.
He was first elected to the House of Commons in a by-election in 1984.
A strong admirer of Margaret Thatcher, and a Eurosceptic, Portillo served as a junior minister under both Thatcher and John Major, before entering the cabinet in 1992.
A "darling of the right", he was seen as a likely challenger to Major during the 1995 Conservative leadership election, but stayed loyal.
As Defence Secretary, he pressed for a purist Thatcherite course of "clear blue water", separating the policies of the Conservatives from those of the Labour Party.
Portillo unexpectedly lost the hitherto safely Conservative Enfield Southgate seat at the 1997 general election.
This led to the coining of the expression "Portillo moment".
Returning to the Commons after being given the Conservative candidacy in the 1999 by-election in Kensington and Chelsea, Portillo rejoined the front bench as Shadow Chancellor, although his relationship with Conservative Leader William Hague was strained.
Standing for the leadership of the party in 2001, he finally came in third place behind Iain Duncan Smith and Kenneth Clarke.
Portillo retired from the House of Commons and from active politics at the 2005 general election, and has since pursued his media interests, presenting and participating in a wide range of television and radio programmes.
Portillo's passion for steam trains led him to make the BBC documentary series Great British Railway Journeys, beginning in 2010, in which he travels the British railway networks, referring to an 1840s copy of Bradshaw's Guide.
The show's success led Portillo to present a number of further series about railway systems in other countries.