Lord Salisbury was born in 1946 and educated at Eton College and Christ Church, Oxford. He spent several years in banking before becoming Conservative MP for South Dorset in 1979. In 1987 he did not stand for re-election.
Summoned to the House of Lords by a Writ of Acceleration in 1992, he was successively Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence, Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Lords and, from 1997 to 1998, Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords. He took leave of absence from the House of Lords in 2002.
Lord Salisbury is a member of the Advisory Board of Open Europe and is Chairman of the Constitution Reform Group.
He is Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire, President of the St. Albans Cathedral Campaign and a Deputy Lieutenant of the County of Hertfordshire. He is also currently President of the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust, a Governor of The Charterhouse, Chairman of the Friends of Lambeth Palace Library and President of the British Library.