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. After leaving Leeds Grammar School in 1975 he was awarded a scholarship to Oxford University to study Law at Keble College.
After University, Richard began his career in business with a postgraduate scheme with John Lewis where he was 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. The company expanded significantly through the decade and took on a number of projects. After more than 25 years, Harvington Properties remains a small but thriving company. Although Richard no longer works in the business, he remains as a shareholder.
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 sold to a listed American company at the end of the decade with Richard staying 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.
Charity has always been an important part of Richard’s life including spending two years as fundraising director of the Variety Club Children’s Charity, setting up a management infrastructure which now raises £2 million a year for disadvantaged children in the United Kingdom. In Watford he has been involved with homeless charities and the Peace Hospice and knows that they need to be supported at the highest level possible. He also is a governor of University College School in Hampstead, and is a trustee of several children’s charities.
Richard’s initial fascination with politics began at university and his desire to become involved in the political process through the Conservative Party. During his time at Keble he held senior office in both the University Conservative Association and the Student Union. 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 an was made a Treasurer of Party in 2008.
Richard was elected member of Parliament for Watford in 2010. He lives principally in North London with his wife of 26 years, Jessie, and their two teenage sons, James and Daniel.