Some of my political heroes won't surprise you, but others will. This sort of thing is very personal and any such list will inevitably be dominated by contemporary figures from one's own political life, and also heroes in history. Mine is no different.
1. Margaret Thatcher
That's surprised you hasn't it?! Mrs T inspired me to get involved in politics and she was the greatest peacetime PM of the last century. A giant among pygmies. Tony Blair would not have been possible without her. Her achievements are huge, but restoring Britain's self belief was the greatest.
2. Winston Churchill
His inspirational leadership saved the nation in its darkest hour. A flawed man in many ways, he rose to the occasion and knew what had to be done.
3. Ronald Reagan
A man whose vision saved the world from nuclear catastrophe and, with Mikhail Gorbachev and Margaret Thatcher, ended the Cold War. Much underestimated by Europeans, he tapped into the American psyche in a way few other recent Presidents have been able to emulate.
4. Konrad Adenauer
Achieved the impossible and transformed West Germany from a war-torn wreck to the economic powerhouse of Europe within twenty years. The true father of modern day Germany.
5. Mikhail Gorbachev
Had the foresight to realise the Soviet Union had to reform and that the arms race was heading to oblivion. Now reviled in his own country, he deserves the respect of those in others. He was by no means a convert to capitalism, but he knew the Soviet Union's command economy was a total failure.
6. David Lloyd George
A politician whose failings were legion, but whose talents were many. Imagine how he would have coped with the Committee on Standards in Public Life! A great war leader and an innovative Chancellor.
7. Otto von Bismarck
He achieved the impossible and united the disparate German states. Showed a remarkable talent for diplomacy and had a great military brain.
8. Richard Nixon
Yes, you read correctly. You can't take Watergate out of the equation, but Nixon's achievements in other spheres were huge. He is one of my favourite political authors and his book IN THE ARENA is a must-read for any politico.
9. Roger Douglas
Douglas was Finance Minister in one of most revolutionary governments of the 20th century - in New Zealand. He was a pioneer in deregulation and privatisation and his legacy will be felt for decades. One of the few people to understand the opportunities provided by the free market.
10. Tony Benn
I never thought I could ever agree with much of what Tony Benn said, but his views on many aspects of the constitution, Europe and the supremacy of Parliament strike a chord with many on the right nowadays. He is one of the few politicians who can engage the interest of the public.