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John Haggitt Charles Patten, Baron Patten, PC (born July 17, 1945) was a Conservative party Member of Parliament in the British House of Commons. He was raised Roman Catholic, and educated by the Jesuits at Wimbledon College before graduating from Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge.

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

He served as Secretary of State for Education from 1992 to 1994. Patten's record as education secretary has been described as "appalling" by David Hart, former general secretary of the NAHT.[1] 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. [2]

He was made a life peer as Baron Patten, of Wincanton in the County of Somerset in 1997.


  1. ^ Education Guardian - reference to Hart's analysis of Patten's record Accessed April 6, 2007
  2. ^ "The secrets of Saint Tim", The Guardian, 24 April 2007
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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