John Harvey: Tory MP and businessman


John Edgar Harvey, politician and businessman: born Londonderry 24 April 1920; MP (Conservative) for Walthamstow East 1955-66; export manager, Marine and Industrial Lubricants Ltd (later Burmah Oil Trading Ltd) 1946-53, general managing director 1953-55, director 1955-85, deputy chairman, Burmah Castrol Europe 1970-80; CBE 1994; married 1945 Joyce Lane (died 2007; one son); died London 13 January 2008

John Harvey fought Walthamstow East for the Conservative Party in 1951 and gained the seat at the 1955 general election with a majority of 1,129. He held the seat for 11 years before going down to defeat in 1966 by 1,807 votes, victim to Labour's best result since 1945.

Although the seat was recaptured by the Conservatives at a by-election in 1969, Harvey never returned to the House of Commons, but engaged in business and charitable activities, serving as the deputy chairman of Burmah Castrol Europe from 1970 until 1980. A fluent French speaker, he broadcast regularly from Bush House for the BBC.

Harvey was born in Londonderry and educated at the Xavierian College in Bruges and Lyme Regis Grammar School. He served throughout the Second World War as a radio officer in the Merchant Navy. He joined a firm of oil distributors, Marine and Industrial Lubricants Ltd, and was their export manager from 1946 until 1953, when he was appointed general managing director. He gave up that position on entering the Commons, although remaining a director of the firm, which was absorbed in 1963 into Burmah Oil.

Politically, he became an active member of the Young Conservatives, chairing the Woodford branch and the Essex and Middlesex area. He sat on the National Executive of the Conservative Party from 1950 until 1955. Not yet 30, Harvey fought the safe Labour seat of St Pancras North in 1950. His reward was a tilt at the much more marginal seat of Walthamstow East, but the sitting Member who had been Labour's candidate there since the 1920s held on to the seat by 1,020 votes.

Harvey remained the Conservative parliamentary candidate and chaired the Association of Conservative Parliamentary Candidates and the Woodford Conservative Association, 1954-56. He took Walthamstow East in May 1955, held it in 1959 and clung on by 395 votes when the Conservative government was defeated in 1964.

After his defeat in 1966, Harvey, who had become a director in the Burmah group and had a position on the executive council of the NSPCC, did not seek re-election to Parliament, but concentrated on his business career. His only political connection was with the Wanstead and Woodford Association, where he was president from 1986 until 1993. His enthusiasm for all things Churchillian led to him becoming one of the founders of a body to link Churchill societies in 1996.

John Barnes

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: 1st Line Technical Support Engineer

£19000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT and Telecoms company ar...

Recruitment Genius: Assistant Manager - Visitor Fundraising

£23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Visitor Fundraising Team is responsi...

Recruitment Genius: Developer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Sales Account Manager - OTE £25,000

£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you outgoing, ambitious, en...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory
Ashes 2015: Alastair Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Cook not the only one to be caught in The Oval mindwarp

Aussie skipper Michael Clarke was lured into believing that what we witnessed at Edgbaston and Trent Bridge would continue in London, says Kevin Garside
Can Rafael Benitez get the best out of Gareth Bale at Real Madrid?

Can Benitez get the best out of Bale?

Back at the club he watched as a boy, the pressure is on Benitez to find a winning blend from Real's multiple talents. As La Liga begins, Pete Jenson asks if it will be enough to stop Barcelona
Athletics World Championships 2015: Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jessica Ennis-Hill and Katarina Johnson-Thompson heptathlon rivalry

Beijing witnesses new stage in the Jess and Kat rivalry

The last time the two British heptathletes competed, Ennis-Hill was on the way to Olympic gold and Johnson-Thompson was just a promising teenager. But a lot has happened in the following three years
Jeremy Corbyn: Joining a shrewd operator desperate for power as he visits the North East

Jeremy Corbyn interview: A shrewd operator desperate for power

His radical anti-austerity agenda has caught the imagination of the left and politically disaffected and set a staid Labour leadership election alight
Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief: Defender of ancient city's past was killed for protecting its future

Isis executes Palmyra antiquities chief

Robert Fisk on the defender of the ancient city's past who was killed for protecting its future
Berlusconi's world of sleaze: The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM

Berlusconi's world of sleaze

The astonishing lifestyle once enjoyed by Italy's former PM
Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Disney plans galactic domination with endless Star Wars spin-offs

Films and theme parks are just the beginning. Disney believes its control of the now decades-old franchise can bring in merchandise and marketing millions for years to come
Could the golden age of the gaming arcade ever be revived in the era of the Xbox?

Could gaming arcades be revived?

The days when coin-ops were the only way to play the latest video games are gone. But a small band of enthusiasts are keeping the button-pushing dream alive
Edinburgh Fringe 2015: The 'tampon tax' has inspired a new wave of female comedians to reclaim period jokes

Heard the one about menstruation?

Yes, if you have been at the Fringe, where period pieces are taking centre stage