Conservative David Cameron was virtually unknown outside Westminster when he was elected Tory leader in December 2005 at the age of 39.
The Old Etonian had dazzled that year's party conference with his youthful dynamism and charisma, reportedly telling journalists he was the "heir to Blair".
He has sought to match the former PM by putting the Conservatives at the centre ground of British politics.
Before becoming leader, he was the Conservatives' campaign co-ordinator at the 2005 general election and shadow education secretary.
He was special adviser to Home Secretary Michael Howard and Chancellor Norman Lamont in the 1990s before spending seven years as a public relations executive with commercial broadcaster Carlton.