Lord Ashcroft has been a supporter of the Conservative Party for all his adult life.
In 1998 he was appointed Treasurer of the party by William Hague, who was then leader. He held this position until 2001, though remained a member of the party’s management board until 2010.
In 2000 he became a member of the House of Lords as a Conservative working peer, but resigned in 2015 to concentrate on other areas of his life.
Since 2002 Lord Ashcroft has served as Deputy Treasurer, Treasurer and (since 2021) Honorary Chairman of the International Democrat Union, an association of centre-right political parties from around the world.
Following the 2005 election he published Smell The Coffee, a detailed report urging the party to learn the lessons of defeat and broaden its appeal. He was subsequently appointed Deputy Chairman of the party by the incoming leader, David Cameron, with responsibility for target seats and opinion research.
After stepping down from his party positions following the 2010 election he established Lord Ashcroft Polls, looking in detail at politics and public opinion in the UK, as well as further afield in Europe, the US, Canada, New Zealand, Russia and Ukraine.
In 2012, David Cameron appointed Lord Ashcroft the Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Veterans’ Transition. In this capacity he published the Veterans’ Transition Review, which examined the experience of those leaving the Armed Forces and returning to civilian life. This work made a number of policy recommendations which were taken up by the government and the Services. Cameron also appointed Lord Ashcroft to lead a strategic review of the UK’s sovereign military bases on Cyprus.
Lord Ashcroft has written biographies of political figures including David Cameron, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Rishi Sunak, Keir Starmer and Carrie Johnson. He has also written a biographical account, published in 2005 and updated in 2009, of his successful battle against the Times newspaper and New Labour during his time as Conservative Party Treasurer.
He is the majority owner of Total Politics Group, which publishes The House magazine in Westminster, Holyrood magazine in Edinburgh, The Parliament magazine in Brussels, PoliticsHome, ConservativeHome and other leading publications covering politics and public policy. The group also includes Biteback, the leading non-fiction publishing house which has published many prominent political authors including Alastair Campbell, Penny Mordaunt, Andrew Mitchell, Andrea Leadsom, Matt Hancock and Anthony Seldon.