THE MAN

Michael-Garden1He's never had a proper job – and now he's a member of the House of Lords as Lord Dobbs of Wylye, perhaps he never will… He's spent too much of his life hanging around all the wrong places at interesting times. He was with Margaret Thatcher when she took her first steps into Downing Street as Prime Minister, and he was there again with John Major when he was kicked out. In between he got bombed in Brighton and banished from Chequers (after a row with Maggie), helped win a few elections and in the quieter moments wrote a book called House of Cards. As former Prime Minister John Major once said,  it had done for his job "what Dracula has done for baby sitting".

Born in 1948 on the same day as Prince Charles, Michael was Chief of Staff and later Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party. And somewhere along the way he managed to pick up a doctorate in nuclear defence studies.

In his restless search for a proper job, he's also been Deputy Chairman of Saatchi & Saatchi, he presented the BBC TV current affairs programme Despatch Box and was a columnist for The Mail on Sunday. He has also recently penned the hugely acclaimed theatre play, 'The Turning Point'. Yet it is as an author that he has gained most plaudits. After creating the iconic figure of Francis Urquhart he has gone on to write books about Prime Ministers, Kings and the Dalai Lama. He also wrote a series of novels about Winston Churchill that had the critics falling over themselves in praise. Now he's created the most dangerous character of his career, Harry Jones. As the Financial Times said, "think Die Hard with a stiff upper lip."

He also has many years of experience in the United States, with a doctorate from Harvard and Tufts universities. He also worked on the Boston Globe throughout the Watergate scandal. House of Cards is one of PBS's all-time most requested TV series and his Churchill novels have been best-sellers there. He has undertaken many speaking tours, his most recent being described as 'a coast-to-coast triumph'. He also shared a girlfriend with Bill Clinton when they were both students at Oxford. 'For some reason she never introduced us,' he says. 'It took me many years and an entire presidential scandal to discover why.'

He is a highly skilled raconteur and is much in demand for corporate and literary events. Click here for a short video of what he does. He has also helped raise tens of thousands of pounds for charities in recent years. Yes, there is a softer side to him, yet his past follows him. One newspaper described Dobbs as "Westminster's baby-faced hit man." Another said he was "a man who, in Latin America, would have been shot." A third wrote that "he was clearly put on this earth to write thrillers of the most shameless page-turning quality."

Well, they might say that. Michael Dobbs couldn't possibly comment.