As Commissioner for External Relations in the European Commission, Mr Patten is the de facto Minister of the EU. Educated in St Benedict's School, Ealing, and Balliol College, Oxford, Chris Patten worked in the Conservative Party since 1966, starting in its research department. He entered parliament in 1979, the year Margaret Thatcher was elected Prime Minister. He became Parliamentary Undersecretary for Northern Ireland, Minster of Education, Minister for Overseas Development and Secretary of State for the Environment. By 1990, he was Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and Chairman of the Conservative party. In the General Election of 1992, he lost his seat for Bath to the Liberal Democrat, Don Foster. Mr Patten became the last British Governor of Hong Kong in 1992 and during his five years in this office, introduced significant democratic reforms before the handover of Hong Kong to China. He refused a knighthood when he stepped down from this office. In 1999, Mr Patten became a member of the European Commission. He is Chancellor for the universities of Oxford and Newcastle.