by: Leslie Bunder - Last updated: 2003-10-29
Former Home Secretary Michael Howard has confirmed he will run for leader of the of the Conservative party. If he wins, he will be the first Jewish leader of the Tories for over 100 years. SJ finds out more about the Welsh-born politician.
Following the vote of no confidence in Tory leader Iain Duncan Smith, Convervative MPs will now get the chance to vote for their new leader.
According to Tory supporters, Howard is the best man to bring the party together and prepare it for the next general election.
Fellow MP, David Davis who many expected to join the race to be leader has ruled himself out and instead is pledging his support to Howard. Others who has given Howard their full backing include Oliver Letwin and Liam Fox.
Howard, the son of a Romanian Jewish shopkeeper once faced the intervewing wrath of Newsnight presenter Jeremy Paxman. On being quizzed whether he intervened in a decision involving the sacking of a prison governor, Howard didn't answer. Paxman then proceeded to ask him the question a further 13 times without any answer.
Michael Howard facts:
Born July 7 1941 in Llanelli, Wales
Original family name was Hecht
In 1962 he was elected President of the Cambridge Union
Before entering politics, he was a barrister
He was elected Member of Parliament for Folkestone and Hythe in 1983
In 1992, he was Secretary of State for the Environment
Between 1993 and 1997 Howard was Home Secretary