Sir Paul is New Zealand born and bred. He is married with four children, three sons and one daughter.
He graduated in dentistry in New Zealand and took a year’s postgraduate course at the Eastman Dental Hospital. He first practised in the East End of London before moving to the West End.
Goaded into politics in reaction to the left-wing activities and expensive mismanagement of the 1974-78 Labour Wandsworth Council, Sir Paul joined the Putney Conservatives and was elected to Wandsworth Council in 1978.
He has held a wide variety of positions as a councillor:
Vice-Chairman, Social Services Committee
Chairman, Public Accountability Sub-Committee
Chairman, Housing Committee
Chairman, Policy and Finance Committee
Chairman, Education Committee
Leader of the Council - January 1983-May 1992
Sir Paul was elected Member of Parliament for Croydon Central in April 1992. He was knighted in January 1990 for his contribution to inner city rehabilitation.
He was a Minister in Department of the Environment from 1994 to 1997. He was first elected Member of Parliament for Mole Valley in May 1997.