John Patten, Baron Patten

Not to be confused with Chris Patten.
The Right Honourable
The Lord Patten
Secretary of State for Education
In office
10 April 1992  20 July 1994
Prime Minister John Major
Preceded by Kenneth Clarke (Education and Science)
Succeeded by Gillian Shephard
Minister of State for Home Affairs
In office
13 June 1987  10 April 1992
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded by David Mellor
Succeeded by Peter Lloyd
Minister of State for Housing
In office
2 September 1985  13 June 1987
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Ian Gow
Succeeded by The Hon. William Waldegrave
Member of Parliament
for Oxford West and Abingdon
Oxford (1979–1983)
In office
3 May 1979  1 May 1997
Preceded by Evan Luard
Succeeded by Evan Harris
Personal details
Born (1945-07-17) 17 July 1945
Political party Conservative
Alma mater Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge
Religion Roman Catholicism

John Haggitt Charles Patten, Baron Patten, PC (born 17 July 1945) is a former Conservative Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon.

Early life

A Roman Catholic, he was educated by the Jesuits at Wimbledon College before graduating from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

Parliamentary career

He was first elected for Oxford in 1979, transferring to Oxford West and Abingdon in 1983 after boundary changes divided the seat. He stood down at the 1997 general election. The seat was subsequently won by the Liberal Democrat Evan Harris.

Patten was offered the role as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland by Margaret Thatcher but refused.[1]

Patten served as Secretary of State for Education from 1992 to 1994. He was interviewed at some length by Brian Sherratt in 1994 regarding his role as Secretary of State.[2] While he was Education Secretary, Patten described Birmingham education chief Tim Brighouse as "a madman ... wandering the streets, frightening the children." Brighouse sued, and won substantial damages which were donated to educational charities.[3]

House of Lords

Patten was created a life peer as Baron Patten of Wincanton in the County of Somerset on 17 June 1997.[4]


He is married to the businesswoman Louise Patten and they have one daughter, Mary-Claire.[5]


  1. Michael White. "David Cameron's cabinet reshuffle: gossip, guesswork and predictions". the Guardian.
  2. Radical Educational Policies and Conservative Secretaries of State, Ribbins P and Sherratt B, Cassell, 1997, pp 168-199
  3. "The secrets of Saint Tim", The Guardian, 24 April 2007
  4. The London Gazette: no. 54812. p. 7187. 20 June 1997.
  5. Louise Patten, Evening Standard, 27 August 2009
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Evan Luard
Member of Parliament for Oxford
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Oxford West and Abingdon
Succeeded by
Evan Harris
Political offices
Preceded by
Kenneth Clarke
as Secretary of State for Education and Science
Secretary of State for Education
Succeeded by
Gillian Shephard
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