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MPs For Sale? Estimating Returns to Office in Post-War British Politics
Unformatted Document Text:  VI. Biographies of Some Successful Conservative MPs To further illustrate the links between office, outside earnings, and personal wealth, we pro-vide short biographies of a selection of Conservative MPs with extensive outside interests. • Sir Peter Emery was born in 1926, the son of a small clothing manufacturer in London. After high school, where he supported himself by working as a labourer,sheet metal worker, and arc-welder, he joined the Royal Air Force during WWII andon demobilization won a scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford. He began political lifeas a councillor in the north London borough of Hornsey and was eventually returnedfrom Reading in 1959. He served over 40 years as a Conservative MP, representingReading, Honiton and Devon East until retirement in 2001. He spent most of hispolitical career as a backbencher, but under Heath held a seat on the Oppositionfront bench, as spokesman for the Treasury, Economics and Trade, and also servedas a junior minister in the early 1970s. Throughout his service as MP, Emery pur-sued a business career that was sometimes controversial. The House of CommonsPublic Accounts Committee censured him twice in 1980 for gross profiteering by hiscompany, Shenley Trust Services (formerly Emery & Emery), on a Government con-tract to run the Underwater Training Centre at Fort William. 37 Emery also earned a storm of criticism for accepting indirect payment from the South African govern-ment for secretly representing in London the so-called Independent Homeland States,Bophuthatswana. He wrote an article for the The Times praising the regime with-out disclosing that he was in its pay. 38 Earlier controversy had arisen when he had visited Ghana as a member of an official parliamentary delegation. He admitted us-ing the visit to negotiate privately a road-building contract for a British firm withwhich he had business links. Emery also accumulated several directorships duringhis political career – with Winglaw Group (1984-2000), Property Growth Insurance(1966-72), and Phillips Petroleum-UK (1963-72). In 1995, he opposed the proposalof the Nolan report that MPs’ outside earnings be published. The Observer hadreported his 500,000 GBP in bonuses for property deals in 1989-92 while chairmanof the Winglaw Property group, on top of his annual salary. He died in 2004 as the23rd richest Conservative candidate in our estimation sample with an estate value ofabout 2.3 million GBP. 39 • Sir Michael Grylls died as the 59th richest Conservative candidate in our estimation sample with an estate value of close to 900, 000 GBP. Born in 1934 as the son of abrigadier, Grylls was educated at St. Ronan’s preparatory school, Hawkhurst, andthe Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and served in the Royal Marines (1952-55). He 37 He refuted allegations of making a 70 per cent profit, claiming it to be only seven per cent. The case was re-opened, but the charge was confirmed, and Emery was again censured. 38 The Times, October 18, 1983. 39 Obituary Sir Peter Emery, The Guardian, December 11, 2004. Obituary Sir Peter Emery, Telegraph, December 13, 2004. Also see Hollingsworth (1991, pg. 38-43,45-46). 29

Authors: Eggers, Andy. and Hainmueller, Jens.
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VI. Biographies of Some Successful Conservative MPs
To further illustrate the links between office, outside earnings, and personal wealth, we pro-
vide short biographies of a selection of Conservative MPs with extensive outside interests.
• Sir Peter Emery was born in 1926, the son of a small clothing manufacturer in
London. After high school, where he supported himself by working as a labourer,
sheet metal worker, and arc-welder, he joined the Royal Air Force during WWII and
on demobilization won a scholarship to Oriel College, Oxford. He began political life
as a councillor in the north London borough of Hornsey and was eventually returned
from Reading in 1959. He served over 40 years as a Conservative MP, representing
Reading, Honiton and Devon East until retirement in 2001. He spent most of his
political career as a backbencher, but under Heath held a seat on the Opposition
front bench, as spokesman for the Treasury, Economics and Trade, and also served
as a junior minister in the early 1970s. Throughout his service as MP, Emery pur-
sued a business career that was sometimes controversial. The House of Commons
Public Accounts Committee censured him twice in 1980 for gross profiteering by his
company, Shenley Trust Services (formerly Emery & Emery), on a Government con-
tract to run the Underwater Training Centre at Fort William.
37
Emery also earned
a storm of criticism for accepting indirect payment from the South African govern-
ment for secretly representing in London the so-called Independent Homeland States,
Bophuthatswana. He wrote an article for the The Times praising the regime with-
out disclosing that he was in its pay.
38
Earlier controversy had arisen when he had
visited Ghana as a member of an official parliamentary delegation. He admitted us-
ing the visit to negotiate privately a road-building contract for a British firm with
which he had business links. Emery also accumulated several directorships during
his political career – with Winglaw Group (1984-2000), Property Growth Insurance
(1966-72), and Phillips Petroleum-UK (1963-72). In 1995, he opposed the proposal
of the Nolan report that MPs’ outside earnings be published. The Observer had
reported his 500,000 GBP in bonuses for property deals in 1989-92 while chairman
of the Winglaw Property group, on top of his annual salary. He died in 2004 as the
23rd richest Conservative candidate in our estimation sample with an estate value of
about 2.3 million GBP.
39
• Sir Michael Grylls died as the 59th richest Conservative candidate in our estimation
sample with an estate value of close to 900, 000 GBP. Born in 1934 as the son of a
brigadier, Grylls was educated at St. Ronan’s preparatory school, Hawkhurst, and
the Royal Naval College, Dartmouth, and served in the Royal Marines (1952-55). He
37
He refuted allegations of making a 70 per cent profit, claiming it to be only seven per cent. The case
was re-opened, but the charge was confirmed, and Emery was again censured.
38
The Times, October 18, 1983.
39
Obituary Sir Peter Emery, The Guardian, December 11, 2004. Obituary Sir Peter Emery, Telegraph,
December 13, 2004. Also see Hollingsworth (1991, pg. 38-43,45-46).
29


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