Educated at Radley College and Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, Mr Paterson worked for his family's leather firm for 18 years before being elected to represent North Shropshire in 1997.
Mr Paterson has been a voice on agriculture in Parliament for over a decade, first appointed as Shadow Agriculture, Food & Fisheries Minister in 2003. He was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet in 2007, as Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, a brief he continued to hold when the Coalition took power in 2010. In this role he oversaw the publication of the Saville Report into the events surrounding Bloody Sunday.
In 2012, Mr Paterson was appointed as Secretary of State for the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. In this role, he has been known to resist Liberal Democrat climate change policies and to oppose HS2.