Owen Paterson travelled all over the world as Managing Director of his family’s leather business, and his political career has been just as varied, allowing him to demonstrate his expertise in areas from bovine TB to Ulster. In his spare time he has ridden across Turkmenistan and Mongolia on horseback.
He was shadow minister for agriculture then for Northern Ireland, before rising to the Cabinet in 2010 as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland then Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs until 2014.
His experience running a family firm drives his political beliefs. He is a passionate supporter of localism and free enterprise. He believes that taxation and bureaucracy should be minimised to give people the best chance to exercise their talents.
Optimistic and outward looking
Owen Paterson is founder of the think tank UK 2020, which researches and publishes optimistic, outward-looking, electorally viable conservative policies. He has delivered speeches and written Op-Eds in favour of GM crops, and against the European Union and “exaggerated” climate change forecasts.
He cites social justice as one of his political interests. India, China and the USA are among his countries of interest, as well as Western and Eastern Europe.