Michael Portillo says he was delighted to accept an opportunity to present a new TV and radio programme on GB News.
The former Conservative Minister said he now plans to try and “inject humour” into his political analysis when his new show, Portillo, this Sunday (October 2).
Michael, who served as a Minister for 11 years under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, said: “As a presenter I aim to draw a bit on my political experience, which at my time of life makes me squint a little sceptically at present events.
“I will also try to introduce some humour into our look at politics too. But, equally, I want to give politicians an opportunity to tell us about themselves, their motivations and what they are trying to achieve.
“More than that though, I’d like to debate ethical issues raised, based around the dilemmas thrown up by current affairs.”
Michael has been a regular commentator on GB News and his new programme will build on this popularity and also cover a wider-range of issues outside of politics.
The show, called Portillo, will cover the arts, informing viewers what’s on offer each week in books, plays, music, dance, and via exhibitions taking place in communities across the UK.
“I plan to make sure we hear from a range of voices,” Michael continued. “What I have enjoyed most about my broadcasting experience so far is the privilege of engaging in good conversation with people who are passionate. It may be their home territory that excites them; their country, coast, or cove.
“Or I might be talking to an author whose ideas and research tumble out in an enthusiastic torrent. It could equally be a dancer, musician, actor, theatre director, or museum curator. I just love to listen to what they have to communicate, and I hope to stimulate them to share their zeal with me and GB News’ viewers and listeners.”
Since stepping back from frontline politics, Michael has appeared in a string of programmes on TV and radio. His double-act with Dianne Abbott on BBC show This Week established his position as a star political communicator. And his BBC2 show Great British Railway Journeys, which he started making 14 years ago, has won critical acclaim and further cemented his position as one of the country’s most popular TV presenters. Michael joins GB News following a role presenting his own show on Times Radio.
On whether he misses politics Michael said: “No, I enjoyed my time in politics very much and I felt privileged. I was in that world, off-and-on, for thirty years. For me that was enough. I still find politics interesting, and I encourage young friends to pursue their political career as long as they know that it’s likely to end at a time that’s not of their choosing.
“Politics can give you the feeling of painting on a very broad canvas and of doing things that are consequential. For example, as Defence Secretary I was much involved with Russia, and the countries of Eastern Europe as they joined the European Union and were candidates for NATO. We had the strong sense of building a new world order.
“Broadcasting, for me, cannot compare in that respect, although the public probably values broadcasters above politicians. I do think there is much less stress in making programmes than in politics, although two hours live on GB News may test that notion to the limit!”
Looking ahead to his debut he added: “It still strikes me as rather odd that I have taken a new job with GB News, rather than putting my feet up on Sunday mornings. But I was delighted to accept. I still have the drive to try new things. It is the stimulus of really engaging discussion that motivates me most and I am really looking forward to getting started.”