Richard Harrington, Conservative MP for Watford (Hertfordshire) won the May 2010 General Election in his constituency with a 6.10% swing in his party’s favour. Mr Harrington, who is a member of EMBG, agreed to become an honorary Parliamentary Advisor to the group. He said about his appointment "As a businessman myself I understand the important role business plays in our economy. It will be the small and medium sized business sector that will be the future engine of growth, so we therefore need to support them in their business endeavours."
CEO of EMBG, Alok Mitra welcomed Mr Harrington, saying "A firm foothold within politics is essential for small businesses as it allows them to be heard and their views and interests to be counted. We host a number of events that allow SME businesses to get directly involved as well as allowing politicians the chance to hear comments and questions from a specific interest group." Mr Mitra added that EMBG would be asking business representatives from all parties to work with the group in ensuring the "voice of ethnic business" was being heard in Parliament at all times. He anticipated that Mr Harrington will hold regular "Business Clinics" to enable EMBG members to provide updates and feedback on issues affecting ethnic businesses in the UK.
The Ethnic Minority Business Group (EMBG) was formed in 2005 as a not-for-profit organisation to promote, advance and coordinate the interests of the ethnic minority business community in their trade, business or professional activities; to facilitate the integration of these businesses into the mainstream; promote entrepreneurship, encourage profitable growth and to use trade to break down barriers between communities in order to foster greater social cohesion, corporate governance and social responsibility.
Directors of EMBG are Alok Mitra FCA (CEO), Larry Rach and John Roberts. Dr Rami Ranger MBE FRSA is patron to the group which currently has Patrick S Frederick, Dr Tim Rhodes and Dilip Joshi MBE as advisors. Visit www.embg.co.uk for further information.
About Richard Harrington MP
Richard Harrington was born in Leeds in 1957, the eldest son of a shopkeeper. He worked in the family shop at weekends and school holidays from the age of 10. This gave him what he saw as the most significant values in his life, hard work and enterprise. After leaving Leeds Grammar School in 1975 he was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University to study Law at Keble College.
After University, he began his career in business with a postgraduate scheme with John Lewis, eventually becoming the assistant to the managing director of Waitrose after a long stint at Trewins in Watford. In 1983, together with two friends from University, he set up Harvington Properties, a property development company. Harvington remains a thriving business of which Richard is a shareholder and a non-executive Director.
In 1990 Richard became a shareholder and managing director of a company active in the development, sales and management of holiday resorts in both the UK and Europe. The company was eventually sold to a listed American company but Richard stayed on as chairman until 2000. When he left, the company employed more than 2,000 people.
Other business successes included the restoration of one of Glasgow’s most famous hotels, One Devonshire Gardens, which was saved from dereliction along with scores of local jobs it provided. He is also a significant shareholder and non-executive director of Eden Financial, a wealth management business in the City.
Richard’s enthusiasm for politics started at university where he held senior office in both the University Conservative Association and the Student Union. During this time nationally, he sat on the Executive Board of the Federation of Conservative Students and was a member of the National Union Executive of the Party. He is a long-time member of the Conservative Party who has played an active part in every General Election and many by-elections since 1983. Richard is currently Chairman of the Executive Board of the Conservatives Friends of Israel. He was appointed a Treasurer of the party in 2008 in which role he launched the Number 10 Club with Sir John Major.
Richard Harrington was elected as MP for Watford (Hertfordshire) in May 2010.
He spends the majority of his free time with his wife Jessie of 25 years and his two sons.