Patten to be appointed EU Commissioner

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CHRIS PATTEN, the former Tory party chairman, is to be appointed a member of the European Commission by Tony Blair in a deliberate snub to William Hague. The Prime Minister rejected Mr Hague's nomination of Sir Alastair Goodlad, the former Tory chief whip, for the pounds 140,000 post in Brussels which becomes vacant when Sir Leon Brittan stands down this year.

The Prime Minister is keen to install left-wing Tories in key positions . Mr Patten, the former Hong Kong governor, is seen as a more heavyweight figure than Sir Alistair, who is likely to be compensated with a less- prominent job in Mr Blair's gift.

The appointment has ruffled the feathers of Neil Kinnock, Britain's other European Commissioner. The former Labour leader, who is now EU transport commissioner, and Mr Patten were adversaries in the 1992 general election and there is little rapport between them.