Patten considers return to Commons

CHRIS PATTEN, the former Tory party chairman who masterminded his party's 1992 General Election victory but lost his own seat, has indicated that he would be willing to return to the Commons next year.

The former Hong Kong governor is currently heading the independent commission into policing in Northern Ireland.

But he told BBC1's Breakfast with Frost programme that once his contract was up - in nine months' time - he might make a comeback into frontline politics.

Asked what he would do if he was offered a safe Tory seat, Mr Patten said: "I would say: 'It's extremely kind of you to have called. Please call again next July, or a bit later.'"

He admitted that he missed "political debate and argument" and his friends at Westminster, but ruled out a return immediately to the Commons, saying he had not decided what he would do after his Ulster job.

"I haven't even talked about it at home," he said. "I know I want to do something else in public service because those are the most interesting jobs around. But I don't know how that will play out."

In a recent interview he was also reported to have said he would not be averse to standing as a constituency MP despite his rather more elevated past and ambitions for the future. Mr Patten, a strong contender to become the Mayor of London, has also been tipped by some to become the leader of the Conservative Party.

Nevertheless, he had warm words for the current leader William Hague.

He said: "He has got to climb the mountain, but he has done extremely well. He does very well in the House of Commons every week, and sooner or later that is going to have an effect on his standing in the country."

But he advised him to take a leaf out of the late Labour prime minister Harold Wilson's book when the referendum on a European Single Currency comes, which could see Mr Hague and Mr Patten on opposite sides.

Mr Patten said: "I think what the Conservative Party has to do is to take a lesson from Harold Wilson, who in his time constructed a position for the Labour Party which enabled people to argue on different sides in a referendum campaign, while being on the same side in an election campaign."

His comments came as it emerged that Mr Hague may be considering a referendum of Conservative Party members on the single currency if next month's party conference looks in danger of being disrupted by pro-Europe MPs.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project and Quality Manager

£28000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is an independent ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Executive - OTE £20,625

£14625 - £20625 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This role is for an enthusiasti...

Guru Careers: Financial Controller

£45 - £55k DOE: Guru Careers: A Financial Controller is required to join a suc...

Recruitment Genius: Fertility Nurse

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join the ho...

Day In a Page

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkey's conflict with Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq can benefit Isis in Syria

Turkish President Erdogan could benefit politically from the targeting of the PKK, says Patrick Cockburn
Yvette Cooper: Our choice is years of Tory rule under Jeremy Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Our choice is years of Tory rule under Corbyn or a return to a Labour government

Yvette Cooper urged Labour members to 'get serious' about the next general election rather than become 'a protest movement'
Singapore's domestic workers routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals

Singapore's hidden secret of domestic worker abuse

David Cameron was shown the country's shiniest veneer on his tour. What he didn't see was the army of foreign women who are routinely exploited and often abused in the service of rich nationals
Showdown by Shirley Jackson: A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic

Showdown, by Shirley Jackson

A previously unpublished short story from the queen of American Gothic
10 best DSLRs

Be sharp! 10 best DSLRs

Up your photography game with a versatile, powerful machine
Solved after 200 years: the mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army

Solved after 200 years

The mysterious deaths of 3,000 soldiers from Napoleon's army
Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise

Robert Fisk on the Turkey conflict

Every regional power has betrayed the Kurds so Turkish bombing is no surprise
Investigation into wreck of unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden

Sunken sub

Investigation underway into wreck of an unidentified submarine found off the coast of Sweden
Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes

Age of the selfie

Instagram and Facebook have 'totally changed' the way people buy clothes
Not so square: How BBC's Bloomsbury saga is sexing up the period drama

Not so square

How Virginia Woolf saga is sexing up the BBC period drama
Rio Olympics 2016: The seven teenagers still carrying a torch for our Games hopes

Still carrying the torch

The seven teenagers given our Olympic hopes
The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis, but history suggests otherwise

The West likes to think that 'civilisation' will defeat Isis...

...but history suggests otherwise
The bald truth: How one author's thinning hair made him a Wayne Rooney sympathiser

The bald truth

How thinning hair made me a Wayne Rooney sympathiser
Froome wins second Tour de France after triumphant ride into Paris with Team Sky

Tour de France 2015

Froome rides into Paris to win historic second Tour
Fifteen years ago, Concorde crashed, and a dream died. Today, the desire to travel faster than the speed of sound is growing once again

A new beginning for supersonic flight?

Concorde's successors are in the works 15 years on from the Paris crash