Public Affairs: Lobbying Target - Owen Paterson, shadow Northern Ireland secretary

Educated at a top boarding school, Paterson is a traditional Tory with a background in his family's leather business.

- Ten-second biography

Elected to the safe Tory seat of North Shropshire in 1997. Paterson was parliamentary private secretary to Iain Duncan Smith during his time as leader. After a spell as shadow minister of state for transport, he was made shadow Northern Ireland secretary in July 2007.

- What's his background?

Educated at Radley College, the famous public school near Oxfordshire, and Cambridge University. Paterson joined the family business, the British Leather Company, in 1979 and became MD in 1993.

- Where does he sit politically?

A Eurosceptic, he has worked closely with right-wing Tories such as Anne Widdecombe and Duncan Smith. On the Conservative Party website, he declares himself to be 'a passionate supporter of localism, free enterprise and less interference in people's lives'.

- Is he one to watch?

Paterson has been promoted twice by David Cameron, but the jury is out on whether he has earned his place in a Cameron cabinet.

- Something I might not have known

Paterson is a former president of the European tanners' confederation.

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