Sir Percy Harris, 1st Baronet
Born in Kensington, Harris was educated at Harrow and Trinity Hall, Cambridge and was called to the bar. His Krakow-born father, Wolf Harris, (1833 – 1926) had established the successful business of Bing, Harris in New Zealand in 1858.
He was first elected to Parliament for the Harborough constituency at a by-election in 1916 but lost the seat at the 1918 general election. In 1919, he was engaged in correspondence with John Wycliffe Black, Chairman of the Harborough Divisional Liberal Association, about the amount of money Harris was expected to contribute if he wished to remain as Parliamentary candidate. In the end Harris was not able to meet the requirements of the Divisional Liberal Association and sought another constituency. Black was then adopted by Harborough Liberals as their candidate.
In the 1922 general election Harris won the Bethnal Green South West constituency. During the 1924-29 parliament which was dominated by a Unionist majority, he worked closely with a group of radical Liberal MPs that included William Wedgwood Benn, Frank Briant, Joseph Kenworthy and Horace Crawfurd to provide opposition to the government. He held his seat until defeat at the 1945 general election by the Labour candidate Percy Holman. After the loss of his parliamentary seat he remained politically active and served on the London County Council until the year of his death. He played a key role in the formation of Liberal International in 1947 and was President of the British Council of LI.
Harris served as Liberal Chief Whip 1933-45 and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Parliamentary Party.
On 14 January 1932 Harris was made the 1st Baronet of London. In 1940 he was appointed a Privy Counsellor.
In 1946 he published his autobiography, Forty Years In and Out of Parliament, Fleet Street Press.
On his death in Kensington aged 76 in 1952, the baronetcy was inherited by his son Sir Jack Harris (23 July 1906 – 26 August 2009).
- "Harris, Percy Alfred (HRS894PA)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
- Chris Cook, The Age of Alignment: Electoral politics in Britain, 1922-1929, Macmillan, 1975 pp40-41
- Forty Years in and out of Parliament by Sir Percy Harris
- 'Bethnal Green: Local Government', A History of the County of Middlesex: Volume 11: Stepney, Bethnal Green (1998), pp. 190-202. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=22758. Date accessed: 13 March 2008.
- Liberals Unite; The Origins Of Liberal International
- BBC NEWS | Magazine | The search for the 'political' gene
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography
- Obituary, Jewish Chronicle, 4 July 1952
- Malcolm Baines, Sir Percy Harris in Brack et al. (eds.) Dictionary of Liberal Biography; Politico's 1998
- Sir Percy Harris, Forty Years In and Out of Parliament; Andrew Melrose, 1947
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Sir Percy Harris
- Portraits of Sir Percy Harris at the National Portrait Gallery, London
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
John William Logan
|Member of Parliament for Harborough
1916 – 1918
Sir Keith Fraser
Sir Mathew Wilson
|Member of Parliament for Bethnal Green South West
1922 – 1945
|Party political offices|
|Liberal Chief Whip
Previous incumbent: Archibald Sinclair
|Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party
Next incumbent: Megan Lloyd George
|Baronetage of the United Kingdom|