He had to retreat to the back-benches a decade ago when it emerged that he had had a love-child with a Tory councillor after an affair. It was the height of the "sleaze" and back-to-basics period of the Major government, and Mr Yeo was forced to resign as environment minister.
Mr Yeo, educated at Charterhouse and Cambridge university, said he was amazed to get health and education which he said would be "key battlegrounds for the next general election".
His two eldest children, Jonathan and Emily were educated in both state and private schools. Claudia Marie, his youngest, attends an independent school.
Mr Yeo was elected as MP for South Suffolk in 1983. He has held a number of front-bench posts since the 1997 election that ousted the Tories, and developed a reputation for measured but aggressive performances in the House.
In June of that year he was appointed spokesman for environment, transport and the regions, then moved to agriculture, fisheries and food in August 1998. From June to August 1998 he was vice-chairman of the party with special responsibility for local government. In September 2001 he became Tory spokesman for culture, media and sport before taking up his most recent post, trade and industry, in July 2002.
His deputy on education will be Tim Collins, MP for Westmorland and Londale.