Philip Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham

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The Lord Harris of Peckham
Official portrait of Lord Harris of Peckham crop 2.jpg
Philip Harris

(1942-09-15) 15 September 1942 (age 79)
Peckham, London, England
Known forCarpetright, Harris Federation, Arsenal FC
Political partyConservative Party
Spouse(s)Pauline Harris

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

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



Harris is currently an advisor and shareholder of Tapi Carpets, a flooring retailer set up recently by a number of the old Carpetright management team. 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.

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


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

Equestrian interests[edit]

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

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]


Conservative Party donations[edit]

Harris has been a donor to the Tory Party since the 1980s and was a great admirer of Margaret Thatcher.

He also made donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party.

He is considered to be one of his personal friends. 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).[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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.[citation needed]

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 spoke about potential candidates on who could succeed May as Conservative Party Leader.[3][4]

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, Harris Academy Peckham 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.[5]

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.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Sunday Times Rich List[edit]

Harris ranked 206th in the Sunday Times Rich List 2006, with an estimated wealth of £285m.


He was knighted in 1985.[7]

He was made a life peer as Baron Harris of Peckham, in the London Borough of Southwark on 11 January 1996.[8]

His wife Pauline was created a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in 2004.

Coat of arms of Philip Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham
[On a Wreath Or and Vert] a Demi Horse rampant Argent on its head a Plume of three Feathers Vert and resting its sinister forefoot on a Tenterhook erect Gules.
Vert a chevron Argent between in chief two Rolls of Carpet in cross section Or and Gules and in base a Horse statant Argent.
On either side a Horse Sable standing on a Mount of Grass proper issuing therefrom Sprigs of Broom Vert flowering Or and grasping in the mouth a like sprig of Broom.


  1. ^ "London 2012 Olympics: Team GB's triumphant show-jumping team grateful for loyal owners". The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ "The team". Graham & Tina Fletcher. Archived from the original on 1 June 2014. Retrieved 31 May 2014.
  3. ^ 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
  4. ^ 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
  5. ^ "South Norwood residents demand Stanley's name is retained at new Harris Academy". Croydon Labour. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2 March 2007.
  6. ^ "Primary school parents in row over takeover by academy chain". The Guardian. 13 March 2013. Retrieved 5 November 2013.
  7. ^ "No. 50221". The London Gazette. 6 August 1985. p. 10816.
  8. ^ "No. 54291". The London Gazette. 17 January 1996. p. 747.
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Baron Harris of Peckham
Followed by
The Lord Bowness