Philip Harris

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Person.png Philip Harris   Powerbase SourcewatchRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Official portrait of Lord Harris of Peckham crop 2.jpg
BornPhilip Harris
Peckham, London, England, UK
PartyConservative Party
Tory businessman in House of Lords. Key supporter of market-based education 'reforms' in England.

Philip Charles Harris, Baron Harris of Peckham (born 15 September in Peckham South London, 1942) is founder of carpet retailer, Carpetright.

He is a major donor to the Conservative Party and Conservative member of the House of Lords and businessman.

He is a key supporter of market-based education reforms in England.

Harris is also a Brexiteer and donor to the campaign to take the UK out of the EU.

Influence on UK politics

Brexit supporter

Harris is a Brexiteer who donated £50,000 to the Vote Leave campaign.

In August 2017 Harris suggested that Brexit would be good for young people as they will be able to work longer hours in shops. He claimed retailers could currently only employ young people for 35 hours a week because of EU law. In fact, the European Working Time Directive means employees cannot be forced to work longer than 48 hours a week – and even then, they can opt-out of the restriction.

Education reformer

Harris is chair of the Harris Federation. This is a chain of 44 academy and free schools in and around London. Some of these schools, like Downhills Primary School, were forced by the government to join Harris against the wishes of the majority parents and governors.

At the moment companies can’t make a direct profit from operating schools - Harris Federation is non-profit making - but businesses can, and are, increasingly providing a lot of the services schools need. Former education secretary Michael Gove supports profit-making schools, and the government’s ambition to see all 25,000 schools in England privately run, rests on companies being able to make a return on their investment. Academy chains, like the Harris Federation, provide a structure for profit-making state schools.

CEO of Harris Federation is Sir Dan Moynihan receives a salary of £375k, making him the best paid of anyone overseeing schools in the state sector, by a long way.[1]

The 'philosophy' of the Harris Federation of schools has been summed up as: 'Good leaders + discipline + uniform = A*.'

Conservative donor

Harris is a major donor to the Conservative Party. As such, he is a member of The Leader's Group, the premier Conservative Party supporter group. Through an annual membership fee of £50,000 donors are able to secure access to leading members of the party. David Cameron called Harris a 'great friend'.

Harris made donations to David Cameron as leader of the Conservative Party. 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". Source

Harris also gave a substantial donation of £120,000 in January 2006 to George Osborne MP.

Harris was made a life peer in 1996 under John Major, and became Baron Harris of Peckham, of Peckham in the London Borough of Southwark.


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