Name: Alan Duncan.

Age: 42, single.

Education: Merchant Tailors' school, Northwood; Oxford University; Harvard University.

Previous occupation: oil trader.

Political career: MP for Rutland and Melton since 1992. Parliamentary private secretary to Brian Mawhinney 1993. Adviser to Conservative leader William Hague 1997-98. Member of the Thatcherite No Turning Back Group.

Political background: contested Barnsley and Penistone 1987. Fell out with John Major after signing a motion urging 'second thoughts' on the Maastricht treaty. Member of a dining club called the Standard Bearers with fellow young Thatcherite MPs. Claimed Lord Nolan's strictures on members' interests were 'driving the middle classes out of Parliament'.

Political interests: energy, economic affairs.

Typical saying (1): 'The social worker, the traffic warden... the helmet laws, the anal dilatation technique, Satanic abuse and the motorway camera are all characteristic inventions of the liberal democratic state.'

Typical saying (2): 'Mob rule and class war should not be allowed to stop hunting... hunting is good exercise for horses; there is something inherently noble and nothing cruel in the great and glorious death of the fox in the field.'

Little-known fact: told an interviewer it would be 'splendid' to die young, and he sensed he himself would die young. Asked how he would like to die, he replied: 'Assassination, preferably.'