Peter Bennett was educated at King Edward's School, Five Ways, Birmingham
His life long connection with the motor industry began in 1903 when he joined the Electrical Ignition company. He subsequently left the firm and entered into partnership with James Albert Thomson under the name Thomson Bennett Ltd. In 1914 this company amalgamated with Joseph Lucas Ltd for the manufacture of combined ignition and lighting systems for cars, tanks and aircraft. The success of the firm owed much to Bennett and his joint managing director, Oliver Lucas. On the latter's death in 1948, Bennett became chairman and managing director of the Joseph Lucas group of companies.
From 1938 until war broke out, Bennett was a member of the prime minister's panel of industrial advisers. In 1939-40, he was director general of tanks and transport at the Ministry of Supply; from 1940-41, he served as director general of the emergency services organisation at the Ministry of Aircraft Production; and from 1941-44 he was chairman of the Automatic Gun Board.
In 1940 Bennett was elected as member of Parliament for the Edgbaston division of Birmingham in succession to Neville Chamberlain and held this seat as a Conservative until 1953. He served as parliamentary secretary to the Ministry of Labour in 1951-52. He was knighted in 1941 and was raised to the peerage in 1953.
OFFICES AND HONOURS
Other offices held by Bennett and his many activities and interests included: president of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, 1935-36; president of the Federation of British Industries, 1938-39; president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, 1932; a governor of the University of Birmingham which conferred on him an honorary LLD in 1950 on the occasion of the University's golden jubilee; president of the Birmingham YMCA and of the Birmingham General Dispensary; president of the Warwickshire County Cricket Club, 1955; and county commissioner of the Boy Scout movement. He was also a generous benefactor of the University's Faculty of Engineering, the YMCA and other institutions.