Alan Thomas Howarth, Baron Howarth of Newport, CBE, PC, (born 11 June 1944) is a British Labour Party and formerly Conservative Party politician who was a Member of Parliament (MP) from 1983 until 2005.

Early life

Rugby School

He is the son of Major Thomas Howarth MC (Chief Master of King Edward's School, Birmingham, Second Master of Winchester College and High Master of St. Paul's School) and Margaret Teakle (who was a WREN in the Second World War). He was educated at Rugby School and gained a BA in History from King's College, Cambridge in 1965.

Howarth subsequently worked in the Conservative Party Chairman's office in Conservative Central Office under Willie Whitelaw and Peter Thorneycroft, before becoming director of the Conservative Research Department and party vice-chairman.[1]

Parliamentary career

Having been awarded a CBE in the 1982 New Year's Honours[2] for political service, Howarth was Conservative Party MP for Stratford-on-Avon, first elected in 1983. He was a founder member of the Thatcherite No Turning Back group. He served as a whip, and was subsequently Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Science from 1989 to 1992, becoming the architect of the polytechnics' transition to university status.[1]


In 1995 he defected from the Conservative Party to the Labour Party, the first MP to defect directly from the Conservatives to Labour, and the first former Conservative MP to sit as a Labour MP since Sir Oswald Mosley. He wanted a new seat to contest as a Labour candidate and, after failing to win the seats of Wentworth and Wythenshawe and Sale East, he was selected for the safe Labour seat of Newport East in Wales. The miners' leader Arthur Scargill stood against him under the Socialist Labour Party banner, but he easily held the seat for Labour.

After the election victory of 1997 he was appointed Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education and Employment, becoming Minister for the Arts at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport the following year. He is also a member of the Privy Council. He was dropped from the government after the 2001 general election. He stood down from the House of Commons at the 2005 general election. Jessica Morden was selected to replace him as candidate by the Constituency Labour Party.

On 13 May 2005 it was announced that he would be created a life peer, and on 15 June 2005 he was created a life peer as Baron Howarth of Newport, of Newport in the County of Gwent.[3]. In a House of Lords debate on the Outcome of the European Union Referendum on 5 July 2016 Lord Howarth announced his support for Britain's departure from the European Union.[4]


He was criticised when it was claimed that he and his partner, Baroness Hollis, live next door to each other but both claim expenses from the House of Lords.[5][6] He and Baroness Hollis are one of the few couples to both hold noble titles in his or her own right.

Personal life

He married Gillian Chance in 1967. They divorced in 1996 and they have two daughters (born 1974 and 1975) and two sons (born 1977 and April 1985).

Styles of address

  • 1944–1982: Mr Alan Howarth
  • 1982–1983: Mr Alan Howarth CBE
  • 1983–2000: Mr Alan Howarth CBE MP
  • 2000–2005: The Rt Hon. Alan Howarth CBE MP
  • 2005: The Rt Hon. Alan Howarth CBE
  • 2005–: The Rt Hon. The Lord Howarth of Newport CBE PC


External links

News items

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon
Succeeded by
John Maples
Preceded by
Roy Hughes
Member of Parliament for Newport East
Succeeded by
Jessica Morden
Political offices
Preceded by
Mark Fisher
Minister for the Arts
Succeeded by
Baroness Blackstone