Former cabinet minister Owen Paterson has broken his back in a riding accident.

The MP for North Shrewsbury told the Oswestry & Borders Counties Advertiser he was “very lucky not to have suffered more serious injury”.

Mr Paterson was taken to the accident and emergency department at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital on Saturday (27 January) after his horse fell, and was transferred to the Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital.

He has broken three vertebrae and is on “complete bed rest”.

Mr Paterson thanked the orthopaedic hospital for the care he is receiving.

“The staff are exceptionally professional, exceedingly caring and have a huge amount of expertise,” he said.

Mr Paterson is being treated in the unit for which he raised thousands of pounds for by taking part in the “world’s toughest and longest horse race” — the Mongol Derby — in 2011.

Mr Patterson and his wife Rose raised money for the Mongol Derby’s official charity, Mercy Corps, and the Royal Irish Regiment while taking part in the ride together.

The Patersons are a horsey family — their daughter Evie Paterson evented for Great Britain at junior and young rider level.

He became the first MP for North Shropshire in 1997 and served as shadow secretary of state for Northern Ireland from 2007 until the 2010 coalition, when he entered cabinet as Northern Ireland secretary.

In 2012 he moved to Defra, serving as secretary of state for the environment, food and rural affairs for nearly two years, before he was succeeded by Liz Truss.

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