His first wife, Roberta, was killed in the Brighton hotel bombing and he himself was trapped in rubble for seven hours.
During the late eighties he served as Leader of the House of Commons, in which capacity he was responsible for the first televisings of Parliament, and as Energy Secretary (1989-1992), where he drew up plans for the privatisation of electricity.
He was appointed a life peer in 1992 by John Major, and then was Leader of the House of Lords until 1994. He became chairman of the Press Complaints Commission in 1995, retiring in 2001. Tony Blair appointed him in 1999 to head a Royal Commission on reform of the House of Lords - the result report suggested a mainly appointed Lords be maintained, with a small elected component.
Since he left government, he has been active in business again, notably being a director of Enron before its collapse.