|The Right Honourable
The Lord Flight
|Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury|
23 July 2002 – 14 June 2004
|Leader||Iain Duncan Smith
|Preceded by||John Bercow|
|Succeeded by||George Osborne|
|Member of Parliament
for Arundel and South Downs
1 May 1997 – 5 May 2005
|Preceded by||Constituency created|
|Succeeded by||Nick Herbert|
|Born||16 June 1948|
|Alma mater||University of Michigan, Magdalene College, Cambridge|
Howard Emerson Flight, Baron Flight[n 1] (born 16 June 1948) is a Conservative politician in the United Kingdom and a member of the House of Lords who was Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs from 1997 to 2005. He held several Shadow posts: Shadow Economic Secretary to the Treasury 1999-2001, Shadow Paymaster General to 2002, then Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Early and personal life
Flight was educated at Brentwood School, Magdalene College, Cambridge and the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. From 1970 to 1998 he worked as an investment adviser and director in various banks. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament for Bermondsey in the February and October 1974 general elections. Flight is author of All you Need to know about Exchange Rates (1989), and contributor to the book The City in Europe and the World (2005). He has been married to Christabel since 1974; they have four children: Kitty, Thomas, Josie and Maryanne.
Flight resigned as Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party on 24 March 2005, following comments made at a Conservative Way Forward meeting that was being secretly recorded. In the meeting he stated that the Conservatives in office could make more spending cuts than they were promising in their campaign (including in their manifesto) before the general election. Conservative leader Michael Howard that month withdrew the party whip, and announced that Flight was no longer an approved candidate and could not contest the Arundel and South Downs seat as a Conservative party candidate at the 2005 general election. Flight refused to accept this, maintaining that only his local party branch had a legal right to deselect a candidate. On 29 March 2005 he announced that he had an Opinion from a Queens Counsel (barrister) confirming his view. The Arundel and South Downs Conservative branch initially refused to seek a new candidate, however reversed their position when CCO threatened them with the 'Slough treatment', referring to the suspension of that association for refusing to deselect Adrian Hilton. Amid speculation, Flight confirmed that he would not stand as an independent and would not oppose any decision by the local association to deselect him.
On 6 April, he agreed to give up his attempts to continue as a Conservative candidate and his party began the process of selecting a new candidate. Anne Marie Morris, Laura Sandys and Nick Herbert put themselves forward for nomination as replacement candidates. The chosen candidate, Nick Herbert, won the seat at the election.
Flight was placed on the 'A-List' of Conservative Party candidates ahead of the 2010 general election, but was one of minority on that list not selected as a candidate in open primaries and/or with party recommendation. On 19 November 2010, it was announced that Flight was to be created a life peer and sit as a Conservative in the House of Lords. His full title, created 13 January 2011, is Baron Flight, of Worcester in the County of Worcestershire.
On 25 November 2010, Flight provoked controversy by suggesting that the government's cuts to child benefit would 'discourage the middle classes from breeding' - a politically charged term in discussions on class - 'but for those on benefits there is every incentive'. 
Peerage received and other roles
Flight was raised to the peerage in 2011. He is a director of companies including Investec, a venture capital company, his own private equity company and a chairman of the Entrepreneurs Investment Scheme (EIS) Association of lawyers and accountants, trustee and Vice President of the Elgar Foundation, a Member of the Advisory Boards of the Centre for Policy Studies, Institute of Economic Affairs and Financial Services Forum.
Notes and References
- House of Lords Profile
- Former MPs go to the Lords, ePolitix, 2010-11-19
- Flight fight to save career, BBC, 2005-03-28
- goldlist at conservativehome
- London Gazette no. 59676. p. 869
- Walker, Peter (25 November 2010). "David Cameron tells Tory peer Howard Flight to apologise over poor people 'breeding' comments". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs