Born in 1956, Patrick Mercer read History at Oxford University before joining the Army. He commanded his battalion in Bosnia and Canada. Previously receiving a gallantry commendation, he was awarded the OBE in 1997. In 1999, Patrick Mercer accepted a post as the Defence Reporter for the Today Programme. In the 2001 election, he won the Tory seat in Newark. A respected historian, he has already published a non-fiction account of the Inkerman battle during the Crimean War.