Philip Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham

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The Right Honourable
The Lord Harris of Peckham
Born
Philip Harris

(1942-09-15) 15 September 1942 (age 76)
Peckham, London, England, UK
ResidenceLondon
Cannes
NationalityBritish
OccupationBusinessman
Known forCarpetright, Harris Federation, Arsenal FC
Net worth£110 million (2016)
Political partyConservative Party
Spouse(s)Pauline

Philip Charles Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham (born 15 September 1942) is an English businessman, Conservative party donor and member of the House of Lords.

He is the sponsor of the large multi-academy trust the Harris Federation.

Interests[edit]

Business[edit]

Harris was the Chairman of Carpetright plc and has over fifty years' experience in carpet retailing. Harris left Carpetright in 2014, sold all of his shares and he is no longer associated with the company.

He was chairman and chief executive of Harris Carpets. Harris Carpets acquired Queensway in 1977 to become Harris Queensway plc until the company was taken over in 1988.

Lord Harris was also a non-executive director of Great Universal Stores plc for 18 years, retiring from the GUS Board in July 2004. Lord Harris became a non-executive director of Matalan in October 2004.

Football[edit]

He was appointed to the board of Arsenal Football Club as a non-executive director in November 2005.

Equestrian interests

Lord Harris is the co-owner of the Olympic gold medal-winning horse Hello Sanctos ridden by Scott Brash in the team show jumping event at the London 2012 Summer Olympics.[1]

Lord Harris and Lord Kirkham bought the horse for an estimated €2 million at the start of 2012. They are also co-owners of the horses Hello Sailor, Hello Unique and Hello Boyo.[2]

Politics[edit]

Conservative Party donations[edit]

Harris has been a donor to the Tory Party since the 1980s and was a great admirer of Mrs Thatcher. He also made donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. He is considered to be one of his personal friends. He is said to have played a role in convincing Cameron to contest the party's leadership in the summer of 2005. His ties to Cameron came under scrutiny two years later when it appeared that Andrew Feldman, a political associate of his and a fellow donor to Cameron's leadership campaign, used Harris's name to claim privileges accorded to active members of the House of Lords (which Harris, his peerage notwithstanding, had never been).

A report in The Independent newspaper quoted a senior member of the Lords Privileges Committee as suggesting the allegation shows how fundraising "pollutes our politics".[3]

Comments on Theresa May[edit]

In a September 2017 interview with The Times he described Theresa May as very indecisive unlike Thatcher, hopeless during the general election campaign which she should have won easily, and was leading a weak directionless government. He said May was mishandling the Brexit negotiations and alienated many in the business community. He also said the government's funding cuts to schools had gone too far and were a false economy and that the free schools policy should be overhauled by the Department for Education so that they are only set up in areas of place shortages.

Other comments made included his opposition to an expansion of grammar schools, Theresa May u-turning on too many decisions such as the so-called dementia tax, and the Home Office not reducing net migration to the tens of thousands as repeatedly promised. Harris also talked about potential candidates on who could succeed May as Conservative Party Leader.

[4][5]

Harris Federation academies[edit]

He has contributed extensively to education and as a result, many schools and colleges (such as Harris Manchester College, Oxford) bear his name. Through the Harris Federation, many secondary schools in South London have received Harris donations. In the London Borough of Croydon, he helped to found the Harris City Technology College, Harris Academy South Norwood and Harris Academy Merton, Harris Academy Purley, Harris Academy Chafford Hundred, although many local residents are angered that the original name of the Harris Girls Academy East Dulwich, Stanley Technical High School, was dropped in place of the Harris name.[6]

In recent years, the forced change to academy status has placed additional schools under the management of the Harris Federation despite considerable opposition from Boards of Governors and parents.[7] Many think this amazing considering Harris left school at 15, was a carpet retailer, and shown no previous interest in education before 2010 and the part privatisation of secondary education. He has however been a donor to the Tory Party since the 1980s. He is not an expert on secondary education, nor has he spoken much on the subject in the House of Lords which he attends infrequently.

Personal life[edit]

He was educated at Streatham Grammar School and his father died when he was 15.

In 1960, Philip Harris married Pauline Chumley. The couple have a daughter Susan, and three sons: Martin (director of Tapi Carpets), Peter and Charles.

His wife Pauline was appointed an DBE in 2004 and a Deputy Lieutenant in 2005.

Sunday Times Rich List[edit]

Lord Harris ranked 206th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, with an estimated wealth of £285m. (2004 162nd £254m, 2005 192nd £250m).

Other[edit]

He was Knighted in 1985.[8]

He was made a Life peer as Baron Harris of Peckham, in the London Borough of Southwark on 11 January 1996.[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "London 2012 Olympics: Team GB's triumphant show-jumping team grateful for loyal owners". The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ "The team". Graham & Tina Fletcher.
  3. ^ Independent Archived 30 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  4. ^ Education Correspondent, Francis Elliott, Political Editor, Rachel Sylvester, Alice Thomson, Nicola Woolcock (9 September 2017). "Theresa May is 'hopeless and weak', says Lord Harris of Peckham". Retrieved 28 January 2018 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  5. ^ Alice Thomson, Rachel Sylvester (9 September 2017). "May is hopeless, Boris is too lazy and Gove has no personality, says Lord Harris of Peckham". Retrieved 28 January 2018 – via www.thetimes.co.uk.
  6. ^ "South Norwood residents demand Stanley's name is retained at new Harris Academy". Croydon Labour. Retrieved 2 March 2007.
  7. ^ "Primary school parents in row over takeover by academy chain". The Guardian. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  8. ^ "No. 50221". The London Gazette. 6 August 1985. p. 10816.
  9. ^ "No. 54291". The London Gazette. 17 January 1996. p. 747.