Ms Hewitt has long and distinguished experience in Parliament and Government, including as the longest serving Secretary of State for Trade and Industry in the last fifty years. In that role, she gave top priority to promoting closer business links between the UK and India. Ms Hewitt also served as Cabinet Minister for Women (2001 - 2005) and Secretary of State for Health (2005 - 2007).
Ms Hewitt is the senior independent director of BT Group plc, where she also chairs the remuneration and pensions committees. She is a non-executive director of Euro Tunnel Group and a member of the UK Government's Asia Task Force. She also works closely with the Delhi-based charity, Katha (www.katha.org) supporting education and women's empowerment in the most disadvantaged communities.
Between 1997 and 2010, Ms Hewitt was MP for Leicester West and continues to have close family and personal ties with the city and its large British Asian community.
Patricia's husband, William Birtles, is the senior judge at the Mayor's and City of London Court. They have a son and daughter. In her spare time, Patricia enjoys reading, theatre, music and gardening - and learning to speak Hindi!