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From porn to Portillo | Mark Lawson

30 January 2011 4:01 PM, PST | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

Many ex-ministers fall for the temptations of on-air fame, but it's salutary to recall Harold Wilson's fate

In travelling from a job in broadcasting (spin doctor at the late Carlton TV) to a high office of state, David Cameron is fairly unusual. The reverse journey, though, is a crowded train: Jacqui Smith, a former home secretary now announced as host of a BBC radio documentary on pornography, continues a long tradition of discontinued politicians trying to make the move from interviewee to interviewer. David Miliband is also reported to have discussed possible air-time assignments.

The role model in this connection is Michael Portillo, who responded to both big political rejections of his career (first from the voters of Enfield Southgate, and then Tory colleagues voting for a party leader) by establishing an impressive broadcasting portfolio. Indeed, Ms Smith is also among those Labour rejects and retirees auditioning to share »

- Mark Lawson

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