Paterson entered Parliament in 1997 as the Conservative MP for North Shropshire. He previously served as Shadow Minister to Defra from 2003-05 and is an existing member of the All Party Parliamentary Gardening and Horticulture Group (APPGHG). He replaces the Rt Hon Caroline Spelman who had held the Defra post since the coalition government came into power in 2010.
Commenting on the appointment, HTA Director General, Carol Paris said, “We very much welcome Owen Paterson into the role and hope to continue the good working relationship we developed with his predecessor, Caroline Spelman. Over the last couple of years the HTA has ramped up its engagement with government and established good links with Ministers and civil servants. We will seek an early opportunity to brief the new Secretary of State on the size and importance of the garden industry, and to discuss key topics in his portfolio such as peat reduction, water abstraction, hosepipe bans, urban greening and pesticides.”