Owen William Paterson (born 24 June 1956) is a British Conservative Party politician who has been the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs since 2012 and the Member of Parliament (MP) for North Shropshire since 1997. He was first appointed to the Shadow Cabinet of David Cameron in 2007 as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. Upon the formation of the Coalition Government in 2010 he was appointed to the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, where he remained until being moved to DEFRA in 2012.
Paterson contested, but failed to win, the Wrexham seat in the 1992 General Election. He is Member of Parliament for North Shropshire, being first elected at the 1997 General Election and has been returned at every General Election there since. He served on a number of committees including the Welsh Affairs Committee (1997–2001), the European Standing Committee (1998–2001), and the Agriculture Committee (2000–01). Paterson is a supporter of Royal Irish Regiment which has been based in his constituency at Tern Hill.
Paterson was appointed Shadow agriculture, Fisheries and Food Minister from 2003-05. Shadow Minister for Transport from 2005-07. Whilst he was Shadow Minister for Roads, Paterson researched relevant best practice and the latest ideas from Europe and North America. He was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on 2 July 2007.
Paterson previously served as
Paterson was appointed as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in The Coalition Government on 12 May 2010. He was created a Privy Counsellor on 13 May 2010. Paterson was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in September 2012.
Paterson married Rose Ridley, the daughter of Matthew Ridley, 4th Viscount Ridley and sister of Matt Ridley in 1980. They have two sons and a daughter. They are Felix, Ned and Evie. Paterson speaks fluent French and German. His wealth is estimated at £1.5m. Paterson is a keen horse rider and racer. He has ridden across Turkmenistan and most recently Mongolia.
September 12, 2012