Philip comes to the Cabinet from a wide-ranging background of hands-on business experience in small and medium-sized companies in manufacturing, property and construction, and oil and gas, both in the UK and elsewhere in Europe.
Philip was brought up in Essex, attending a local state school. He went up to Oxford to study Philosophy, Politics and Economics in October 1974 – on the very day that the Labour Government, which ended in disaster in 1979, was elected.
He watched, first as a student of politics, and then as a new employee in a small pharmaceutical company, as economic disaster engulfed Britain.
Philip's political convictions were formed against that backdrop and he strongly believes that the first responsibility of Government is to promote economic stability, sound money, and prudent public finances. He believes that none of our aspirations for a better society can be met if we do not have a strong economy to support them. In a tough public spending climate, that means tackling the deficit, while maintaining capital investment to ensure Britain's international competitiveness.
Philip's active involvement in Conservative Party politics began when he volunteered for the 1979 General Election campaign and was assigned to Westminster North, a constituency which the Conservatives won by just 106 votes. He later became a Constituency Association Chairman.
Philip resolved to stand for Parliament when he realised that the Thatcher/Major era would come to an end with much work remaining undone. He believed that it would take another Conservative Government to successfully build on the economic reforms of the 1980s and deliver real social change in Britain.
Philip first stood for Parliament in Newham North East in 1994. Having been defeated in that by-election, he was elected in 1997 for the Surrey constituency of Runnymede and Weybridge.
Forcing the Home Office to back down on a plan to locate a hostel for convicted paedophiles in a county mansion it had secretly refurbished in the middle of Runnymede, yards from a primary school.