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Chris Patten

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Lord Patten of Barnes

Christopher Francis Patten, Baron Patten of Barnes, CH, PC (born 12 May 1944) is a prominent British Conservative politician. Originally an MP, he lost his seat and became the last Commander in Chief and British Governor of Hong Kong. After Hong Kong's cession to China, Patten became the European Commissioner for foreign relations. After leaving that post, he was raised to the Peerage.

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Early career

Educated in St Benedict's School, Ealing, and Balliol College, Oxford, he had worked in the Conservative Party since 1966, starting in the Conservative Research Department. He was Chairman of the CRD from 1974 to 1979.

He was a Member of Parliament from 1979 to 1992, and Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1990 until 1992 before losing his seat for Bath to the Liberal Democrat Don Foster at the 1992 UK general election. Ironically, as party chairman he was widely considered as the main architect of the Conservative victory in that election. During the election period, his Parliamentary Private Secretary was Tim Hailes.

He was Minister for Overseas Development at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 10 September 1986 to 24 July 1989. He was later Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (a sinecure) from 1990 to 1992.

Governor of Hong Kong

In July 9, 1992, he became the 28th and last Governor of Hong Kong until its handover to the People's Republic of China on 30 June 1997. He was given an official Chinese name, Peng Dingkang (彭定康), for his governorship. Unlike previous Hong Kong Governors, he was not an official from the department that focused on colonial affairs, but he was a politician.

During his governorship, he extended the definition of functional constituencies and thus virtually every Hongkonger was able to vote for the so-called indirectly elected members (see Politics of Hong Kong) and so the Legislative Council could better represent the Hong Kong people. His measure was strongly objected by the Communists of Hong Kong who suffered from the electoral changes and he himself was orally insulted by the PRC government as an 'eternal sinner' (千古罪人). The institutional reform gained majority support in Hong Kong. The criticism from the PRC government indeed raised his popularity to a level he never enjoyed inside the UK. Hongkongers also gave him the nickname "Fat Patten"(肥彭[Fei-Paang]), making him become the first and the last governor to have a nickname. This was due not only to his rotund figure, but also his predeliction for Portugese custard tarts.

After Hong Kong's handover, he left Hong Kong on 1 July 1997, together with The Prince of Wales, on board HM Yacht Britannia.

Northern Ireland

In 1998-1999, he chaired the Independent Commission on Policing for Northern Ireland, better known as the Patten Commission, which had been established in 1998, as part of the Belfast Agreement. On September 9, 1999 the Commission produced its report, entitled A New Beginning: Policing in Northern Ireland but popularly known as the Patten Report, which contained 175 symbolic and practical recommendations.

European Commissioner

In 1999, he was appointed one of the United Kingdom's two members of the Commission of the European Communities, with responsibility for Foreign Relations. He held this position within the Prodi Commission from 23 January 2000 to 22 November 2004. Although nominated for the post of President in the next Commission in 2004, he was unable to gain support from France and Germany. He, once an unwelcome governor in the PRC, is warmly greeted by Chinese officials with his role in the European Union.

Other positions

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Lord Patten in regalia as the Chancellor of the University of Oxford

Lord Patten of Barnes is the Chancellor for the Universities of Newcastle and Oxford.

He is a patron of the Tory Reform Group.


Preceded by:
Nicholas Ridley
Secretary of State for the Environment
1989–1990
Succeeded by:
Michael Heseltine
Preceded by:
Kenneth Baker
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster
1990–1992
Succeeded by:
William Waldegrave
Preceded by:
David Wilson
Governor of Hong Kong
1992–1997
Succeeded by:
Tung Chee-hwa
Chief Executive of Hong Kong

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Bibliography

External links

ja:クリストファー・パッテン nl:Chris Patten zh:彭定康 pl:Chris Patten

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