Earp was the son of William Earp of Derby and his wife Sarah Taylor, daughter of James Taylor of Muskham. He was educated at the Diocesan School in Derby and became a partner in the firms of Gilstrap, Earp & Co. maltsters and Richardson Earp and Slater, brewers. He was a town councillor for Newark-upon-Trent and was Mayor of the borough from 1869 to 1870.
At the 1874 general election Earp was elected as a Member of Parliament (MP) for the borough of Newark. He was re-elected in 1880, and held the seat until the parliamentary borough was abolished at the 1885 general election, when he stood unsuccessfully in the new single-seat Newark division of Nottinghamshire.
Earp died at the age of 79.
Earp married Martha Weightman, daughter of T Weightman of Langford Nottinghamshire, in 1855.
- Leigh Rayment's Historical List of MPs – Constituencies beginning with "N" (part 1)[self-published source][better source needed]
- Debretts House of Commons and the Judicial Bench 1881
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1832–1885 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 216. ISBN 0-900178-26-4.
- Craig, F. W. S. (1989) . British parliamentary election results 1885–1918 (2nd ed.). Chichester: Parliamentary Research Services. p. 367. ISBN 0-900178-27-2.
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Thomas Earp
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
|Member of Parliament for Newark
1874 – 1885
With: Samuel Bristowe to 1880
William Newzam Nicholson from 1880