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. In twenty years in business 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 to give people the best chance to exercise their talents. He is a strong defender of the United Kingdom.
During the past 14 years, he has fought on behalf of his constituents for better health provision, local Primary Schools, improved transport services, Post Offices, small businesses and against regional police forces.
As Agriculture spokesman he became an expert on bovine TB and campaigned for the dairy industry. He travelled all over the North Atlantic to produce a landmark Green Paper on Fisheries. As Shadow Minister for Roads, he researched best practice and the latest ideas from Europe and North America.
He was Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland from 2007 to May 2010, when he was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
Since the General Election, he has overseen the publication of the Saville Report, secured a financial settlement for savers in the Presbyterian Mutual Society, secured an extra £200 million of funding for security in Northern Ireland and worked with the Treasury to deliver his promise of a consultation on the devolution of the power to reduce the rate of Corporation Tax to Stormont.
In September 2012, Owen was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
MP for North Shropshire, May 1997 –
Conservative Whip, 1999-2001
PPS to the Rt Hon Iain Duncan Smith, Sept 2001 – Oct 2003
Shadow Minister for Agriculture, Oct 2005 – Nov 2006
Shadow Minister of State for Transport, Nov 2006- July 2007
Shadow Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, July 2007 - May 2010
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, May 2010 - Sept 2012
Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Sept 2012 -
PROUDEST POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENT:
Helping to keep Whitchurch Community Hospital open
INTERESTS OUTSIDE OF POLITICS:
Horses, racing and eventing
He has been married to Rose for 31 years and they have three children, Felix, Ned and Evie.