Chris Patten was a cradle Catholic (hence First Confession), became on the most prominent Tory 'Wets' of the 1980s and 1990s, and went on to hold a series of prominent public offices - Chairman of the Conservative Party, the last Governor of Hong Kong, European Commissioner for External Affairs, Chancellor of Oxford University, Chairman of the BBC, advisor to the Pope - as he self-deprecatingly puts it 'a Grand Poo-bah, the Lord High Everything Else'. He writes with wry humour about his time in all these offices, taking us behind the scenes and showing us unexpected sides of many of the great figures of the day. No political writer is so purely enjoyable as Chris Patten.
Draws on his experience of four controversial institutions - the Tory party, the Vatican, the Chinese government and the BBC - to swell the tiny list of intelligent and cultured memoirs by front-line politicians
A defence of liberal conservatism ... If old-style centrism is to stage a comeback and reason to supplant stridency and authoritarianism, be it in west or east, the moderates can wave Patten's book on their way to their barricades
Engagingly frank, beefily pugnacious ... ... he writes stirringly
Vivid, very well-written, First Confession joins the highest tier of recent works by British politicians