About Andrew Huggins

Andrew Huggins is a Veteran, Commercial Airline Captain, former Conservative Councillor & former county Chairman of the Royal British Legion. Andrew is originally from Brighton but has moved around through work and now lives with his partner and three young children. Andrew suffers from Dyslexia, a disability he has learned to live with and is now keen to show others that it does not have to be a barrier to personal and professional progression. Andrew cares deeply about public service, particularly the care of the Armed Forces Community. Andrew is an active campaigner and a strong voice for the future of aviation policy.

Education

Andrew studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at The Open University and achieved first-class honours. His dissertation addressed the question, ‘Does Conservatism still exist?’ A defence of modern Conservative thought in an ever-increasing polarised era of extreme politics and the rise of both populist and nationalist parties.

Professional Career

After leaving school, Andrew joined the Royal Artillery Regiment of the British Army. Early in Andrew’s service he was deployed to Kuwait ahead of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, which saw Andrew complete active service aged just 18. After being promoted, Andrew was again sent to serve in Iraq in 2005. Andrew finished his time in the military assisting in the training of officer cadets at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. Andrew was able to pass on his experience and leadership knowledge to many young officers, including Princes William and Harry.

After leaving the Armed Forces, Andrew retrained as a commercial airline pilot, and having successfully completed his flight training, Andrew joined Ryanair in the spring of 2008. Andrew was later selected for promotion to Captain after only 6 ½ years, owing to his maturity and natural leadership capabilities. In 2017 Andrew was again promoted to Line Training Captain, in essence a driving instructor of the skies. Andrew was tasked with teaching newly qualified first officers and recently promoted Captains in the operational procedures required to complete safe and efficient flights. Andrew continues to work for Ryanair and is currently based at Stansted Airport.

Politics

Andrew traces his political awakening back to Tony Blair’s Iraq War. A time where he witnessed first-hand, an underequipped force being sent on a mission to find ‘weapons of mass destruction’ that simply did not exist. Andrew’s interest in politics and particularly his scepticism of the Labour Party grew year on year from that point. Andrew, like many others, watched with interest the debates surrounding David Cameron’s three referendums and, following a period of working abroad, joined the Conservative Party in 2017.

Immediately after joining Andrew dove head first into the 2017 general election, becoming one of his associations most active campaigners. Andrew was shortly thereafter invited to join his associations Executive and at the following AGM became the Hon Treasurer. Andrew served as Treasurer for a period of three years followed by a year as Deputy Chairman Political.

Following the unexpected passing of a Conservative Councillor and with no local candidate available, Andrew offered to stand in a district council by-election in Aug 2018. He fought a hard campaign against a well-supported local candidate, but lost. Undeterred, Andrew stood again in May 2019, but this time in the ward in which he lived and won with a 68% vote share.

During his first term Andrew was initially placed on the planning committee, followed by a move to audit and risk. Andrew has represented his council on both the Stansted Airport Consultative Committee and Hertfordshire Armed Forces Covenant Board. During his time on these panels, Andrew has been promoted to Chair of the Environmental Issues Group on STACC and Chair of the Education sub-committee on the Covenant Board. In 2021 Andrew was promoted to Chair of the Member Development Committee and given a remit to maintain fellow Councillor’s training currency. He was also tasked with developing the 2023 Councillor Induction Programme. To further his own development Andrew was sent on the Local Government Association’s Leadership Academy in the winter of 2022/23.

Andrew was also added to the approved parliamentary candidates list in 2022 and selected for Leeds North West in September 2023.

Community and Charity Work

Andrew has held several voluntary roles through his adult years. He joined the Army Cadet Forces as an adult instructor in 2010. Assessing Duke of Edinburgh expeditions and teaching teenager’s military & life-skills.

Andrew was invited to become a school governor in 2017 and asked to take on the humanities champion role. In his second year Andrew took on the role of Resources Chair.

Andrew became a member of the Royal British Legion in 2017 and assisted in the running of his local branch. Andrew joined the County Committee in 2019 and became part of the team helping to administrate 35+ branches throughout Hertfordshire. Andrew became County Chairman in 2021, which had overall responsibility for 4000+ members and an annual fundraising target of £1M.

Andrew was asked to join the Office of Veteran Affairs’ Health Priority Setting Partnership in 2022, to develop a top ten health research questions for the Government to consider further academic investigation.

In December 2022 Andrew successfully applied to take part in the Department for Levelling up, Housing & Communities, Boardroom Apprentice Scheme. A year long programme to develop the skills and knowledge required to be a non-executive director or trustee of a public or charity sector board. This course includes a year’s placement as a boardroom observer, and Andrew was chosen to join the board of Visit England due to his knowledge of the tourism sector. Andrew now serves as a Trustee of a charity which seeks to provide and improve, access to sporting activities for people with disabilities.