Tony used home study to secure a place on an economics degree at Leicester Polytechnic as a mature student. After a sabbatical year as President of the Students’ Union he obtained his BA(Hons) in 1990.
From 1990 to 1992 he worked as the Research Assistant to Rt Hon Dr David Owen MP, then Leader of the Social Democratic Party (SDP). At this time he also played an important role in the development of the Social Market Foundation think tank, which quickly became one of the most influential Westminster think tanks of the 1990s.
Following the 1992 General Election Tony joined the Civil Aviation Authority as the Economic Adviser to its Air Transport Users Council (AUC), to work on European market liberalisation. He also managed the European air transport users group FATURE, served as an Expert at the European Commission, and worked with UK ministers, officials, and Parliamentary committees on aviation policy.
In 1995 Tony founded the Policy Analysis Centre with two other economists, but soon afterwards was appointed as Special Adviser to the Secretary of State for Health. After the subsequent General Election Tony briefly returned to the Social Market Foundation, as its Head of Research, until he became Director of European Public Policy at GlaxoSmithKline plc, based in London and Brussels. At GSK he was responsible for the company’s policy approach in more than 30 countries. He also served on the US pharmaceutical industry’s Economic Policy Task Force in Washington DC.
He returned to the Policy Analysis Centre in 2001, and became a Visiting Research Associate at the London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE), from which he was later awarded a PhD for his thesis on the policy process. He has taught on postgraduate courses at the LSE since 2003, and now focuses on behavioural public policy. He is currently a Visiting Senior Fellow in the Department of Social Policy at the LSE, and a visiting lecturer at Zurich University of Applied Science (ZHAW).