Iain was born in April 1954. He was educated at Dunchurch College of Management, the Royal Military Academy in Sandhurst, the Universita per Stranieri in Perugia, Italy and HMS Conway in Anglesey.
Commissioned into the Scots Guards, Iain saw active service in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) as well as serving in Canada and Germany. It was here that Iain quickly gained a reputation for being approachable and hard working.
At the age of 27, Iain left the army and worked for GEC-Marconi before later joining Bellwinch, a property company, and then joined the board of Jane's Information Group, a publishing company. Iain found this experience invaluable for understanding the difficulties of running a business. He knows first hand the effect on people's lives of policy made in Whitehall.
Iain has been married to Betsy since 1982, and they have two sons and two daughters, aged between 9 and 15.
Iain was elected as Member of Parliament for Chingford at the 1992 General Election. In 1997, he was re-elected for the re-drawn constituency of Chingford and Woodford Green. During the last decade in Parliament Iain's courteous and straight-talking approach to politics has won him many admirers.
Under William Hague, Iain was promoted to the Shadow Cabinet in 1997. As Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security, Iain dedicated his time to exposing the gap between the Labour Government's rhetoric and the reality of their failure on welfare reform.
After much success in this role, he was promoted to Shadow Defence Secretary in 1999. Over the next two years, Iain gained an international reputation for his contribution to the debates on the European Army and the US missile defence initiative as well as his success in exposing the Government's failure to give British forces the right money and equipment.
In September 2001, at the age of 47, Iain was elected Leader of the Conservative Party in the first ever ballot of the Party's membership. He served as Leader until November 2003.
In December 2005, he was appointed Chairman of the Party's new Social Justice Policy Group. In May 2010, Iain was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.