The Lord Howarth of Newport
Howarth in 2018
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Arts
In office
28 July 1998 – 7 June 2001
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byMark Fisher
Succeeded byThe Baroness Blackstone
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Education
In office
5 May 1997 – 28 July 1998
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJim Paice
Succeeded byMargaret Hodge
In office
24 July 1989 – 28 November 1992
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
John Major
Preceded byJohn Butcher
Succeeded byTim Boswell
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
27 July 1988 – 24 July 1989
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byMark Lennox-Boyd
Succeeded byDavid Heathcoat-Amory
Member of Parliament
for Newport East
In office
1 May 1997 – 11 April 2005
Preceded byRoy Hughes
Succeeded byJessica Morden
Member of Parliament
for Stratford-on-Avon
In office
9 June 1983 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byAngus Maude
Succeeded byJohn Maples
Personal details
Born (1944-06-11) 11 June 1944 (age 77)
Marylebone, England
Political partyLabour (1995–present)
Other political
Conservative (until 1995)
Spouse(s)Gillian Chance (divorced)
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge

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. He is one of few politicians in recent years to have served as a minister in both Labour and Conservative governments, and is now a Labour life peer in the House of Lords.

Early life

Rugby School
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]


On Saturday 7 October 1995, he announced his resignation from the Conservative Party and defected 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 National Union of Mineworkers 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. By the time he stood down, he had spent only 18 months of his 22-year career as an MP on the opposition benches (October 1995 to May 1997).

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]

Personal life

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


  1. ^ a b Bevins, Anthony (8 October 1995). "Anthony Bevins: Tories rocked as senior MP Alan Howarth defects to Labour". Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  2. ^ "No. 48837". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1981. p. 8.
  3. ^ "No. 57678". The London Gazette. 20 June 2005. p. 7991.
  4. ^ "Outcome of the European Union Referendum - Hansard".

News items

Parliament of the United Kingdom New constituency Member of Parliament for Stratford-on-Avon 1983–1997 Succeeded byJohn Maples Preceded byRoy Hughes Member of Parliament for Newport East 1997–2005 Succeeded byJessica Morden Political offices Preceded byMark Fisher Minister for the Arts 1998–2001 Succeeded byBaroness Blackstone Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Preceded byThe Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope GentlemenBaron Howarth of Newport Followed byThe Lord Tyler