Owen was born in Whitchurch, Shropshire. He read History at Cambridge University, before joining his family leather business, becoming Managing Director in 1994. He speaks French and German. He travelled all over the world, becoming President of COTANCE, the European Tanners’ Confederation. It was this experience which drives his political beliefs.
Owen is a passionate supporter of localism, free enterprise and less interference in people’s lives. He believes that taxation and bureaucracy should be minimised, giving people the best chance to exercise their talents. He is a strong defender of the United Kingdom. During the past 17 years, he has fought for better health provision, local primary schools, improved transport services, Post Offices, small businesses and against regional police forces. He was Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2007 to May 2010, when he was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In September 2012, Owen was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.