The Lord Howell of Guildford
Official portrait of Lord Howell of Guildford 2020 crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Minister of State for International Energy Policy
In office
14 May 2010 – 5 September 2012
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byThe Baroness Warsi
Secretary of State for Transport
In office
14 September 1981 – 11 June 1983
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byNorman Fowler
Succeeded byTom King
Secretary of State for Energy
In office
4 May 1979 – 14 September 1981
Prime MinisterMargaret Thatcher
Preceded byTony Benn
Succeeded byNigel Lawson
Junior ministerial offices
Minister of State for Energy
In office
8 January 1974 – 4 March 1974
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Sec. of StateThe Lord Carrington
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byThomas Balogh
Minister of State for Northern Ireland
In office
5 November 1972 – 8 January 1974
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Sec. of StateFrancis Pym
Preceded byWilliam van Straubenzee
Succeeded byStan Orme
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
In office
26 March 1972 – 5 November 1972
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Sec. of StateWillie Whitelaw
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byPeter Mills
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment
In office
5 January 1971 – 26 March 1972
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Sec. of StateRobert Carr
Maurice Macmillan
Preceded byDudley Smith
Succeeded byNicholas Scott
Lord Commissioner of the Treasury
In office
24 June 1970 – 6 January 1971
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
ChancellorAnthony Barber
Preceded byReginald Eyre
Succeeded byHector Monro
Parliamentary Secretary for the Civil Service Department
In office
23 June 1970 – 26 March 1972
Prime MinisterEdward Heath
Preceded byOffice established
Succeeded byKenneth Baker
Committee offices
Chair of the House of Lords International Relations Committee
In office
25 May 2016 – 1 July 2019
Preceded byCommittee established
Succeeded byThe Baroness Anelay of St Johns
Chair of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee
In office
1 January 1987 – 21 March 1997
Preceded byAnthony Kershaw
Succeeded byDonald Anderson
Further offices held
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords
In office
8 June 2005 – 6 May 2010
LeaderMichael Howard
David Cameron
Shad. LeaderThe Lord Strathclyde
ShadowingThe Lord Rooker
The Lord Hunt of Kings Heath
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
18 June 1997
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Guildford
In office
31 March 1966 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byGeorge Nugent
Succeeded byNick St Aubyn
Personal details
David Arthur Russell Howell

(1936-01-18) 18 January 1936 (age 87)
London, United Kingdom
Political partyConservative
Cary Davina Wallace
(m. 1967)
Children3, including Frances
Alma materKing's College, Cambridge

David Arthur Russell Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford, PC (born 18 January 1936)[1] is a British Conservative Party politician, journalist, and economic consultant. Having been successively Secretary of State for Energy and then for Transport under Margaret Thatcher, Howell has more recently been a Minister of State in the Foreign Office from the election in 2010 until the reshuffle of 2012. He has served as Chair of the House of Lords International Relations Committee since May 2016. Along with William Hague, Sir George Young and Kenneth Clarke, he is one of the few Cabinet ministers from the 1979–97 governments who continued to hold high office in the party, being its deputy leader in the House of Lords until 2010. His daughter, Frances, was married to the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.[2]

Early life

Howell was educated at Eton College, before entering King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1959 with 1st Class honours [3] in Economics. He proceeded to the degree of Master of Arts in 1963. He went to work in HM Treasury joining the Treasury Economic Section from 1959 to 1960. In 1960 he wrote the book Principles to Practice, published jointly, and spent four years as a journalist, leader writer and special correspondent on The Daily Telegraph. He succeeded Geoffrey Howe as editor of Crossbow (the journal of the Bow Group) from 1962 to 1964 before he unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Dudley in the 1964 general election.[2]

Political career

Two years later, in 1966, he was elected MP for the safe seat of Guildford in Surrey, for the Conservative Party, a seat he held until retiring at the 1997 general election. On 6 June 1997 he was made a life peer as Baron Howell of Guildford, of Penton Mewsey, in the County of Hampshire.[2][4]

When Margaret Thatcher was elected in 1979, she made Howell her first Secretary of State for Energy and then moved him to Transport in the reshuffle of September 1981 and until 1983. His time at the Ministry of Transport saw the commissioning and publication of the highly controversial Serpell Report into Britain's Railways. The report which emerged included proposals which would have greatly reduced the rail network in Britain and met with an extremely hostile reaction. Although these proposals were not pursued the episode caused considerable political problems for the Government and contributed to Thatcher dropping Howell from the Cabinet.[5][6][7][8]

Howell wrote the book Freedom and Capital, published 1981. In 1979 he was also sworn into the Privy Council. He then wrote the book Blind Victory: a study in income, wealth and power, published 1986. In 1987 he became chairman of the Select committee on Foreign Affairs.[2] He was president of the British Institute of Energy Economics from 2005 to 2014 and has been chairman of the Windsor Energy Group since 2003.[9]

In the House of Lords, he was Deputy Leader of the Opposition from 2005 to 2010. On the election of the Coalition government he was quickly recommended to Foreign Secretary by the Prime Minister as an enthusiastic advocate of HS2, the only conservative in the government with the relevant ministerial experience. In the September 2012 reshuffle, having served two years as initially agreed, he was asked by the Prime Minister to stand down to provide a Foreign Office place for Baroness Warsi. Howell was Opposition Spokesperson for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2000 to 2010. He is now Chairman of the new House of Lords International relations Committee.[10] Lord Howell is also Chairman of The Commonwealth Societies Association.[11]

From the election of May 2010 until the reshuffle of 2012, Lord Howell served as Minister of State in the Foreign Office in David Cameron's government, under William Hague as Foreign Secretary. From September 2012 to April 2013, he was personal adviser to the Foreign Secretary on Energy and Resource Security.[10] Lord Howell has never lobbied on behalf of the IAEA or performed any role related to it at any time. He had nothing to do with the State Visit of the Chinese Chairman or with the deal to build a nuclear power station. He has, however, described the French/Chinese nuclear Hinkley Point C deal as 'one of the worst deals ever for the British consumer'.(FDI).[12]

In November 2012, Greenpeace released secret film of an interview with Lord Howell about the advantages of natural gas over wind power, in which he said that David Cameron "is not familiar with these issues, doesn't understand them", but that George Osborne, his son-in-law, "is of course getting this message and is putting pressure on".[13]

In May 2013, he was appointed president of the Energy Industries Council.[14] In July 2013, he said, in a Lords' discussion on fracking, "there are large, uninhabited and desolate areas, certainly in parts of the north-east, where there is plenty of room for fracking, well away from anybody's residence, and where it could be conducted without any threat to the rural environment".[15] There was much adverse reaction.[16]

Ministerial career

Table to show Ministerial posts held
Post Date
Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (International Energy Policy) May 2010 – Sep 2012
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Lords Jun 2005 – May 2010
Shadow Minister (Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs) Jul 2000 – May 2010
Secretary of State for Transport Sep 1981 – Jun 1983
Secretary of State for Energy May 1979 – Sep 1981
Shadow Minister (Business, Innovation and Skills) Jul 1977 – May 1979
Minister of State (Department of Energy) Jan 1974 – Mar 1974
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Northern Ireland Office) Mar 1972 – Nov 1972
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department of Employment) Jan 1971 – Mar 1972
Lord Commissioner (HM Treasury) (Whip) Jun 1970 – Jan 1971
Parliamentary Secretary (Civil Service Department) Jun 1970 – Mar 1972[17]


Coat of arms of David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford
A Japanese crane Proper beaked Or and grasping in the sinister foot a lily Argent slipped and leaved Or.
Argent four rows palewise in fess composed of billets fesswise Gules each chargd with a goutte Or on a fess Sable three towers Or each enfiling an ancient crown Gules.
On either side a gryphon reguardant Argent beaked winged and grasping in the interior forefoot a fleur-de-lys Or.
Ideas Conquer All[18]


  1. ^ "Mr David Howell (Hansard)". Retrieved 10 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d Charles Mosley. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage. Vol. 2 (107 ed.). p. 1989.
  3. ^ Cambridge University Annual Register 1968-69. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 1969. p. 1050.
  4. ^ "No. 54812". The London Gazette. 20 June 1997. p. 7187.
  5. ^ "The 'bad news' report that helped build today's railway". Railnews. 1 September 2008. Retrieved 18 February 2017.
  6. ^ Rogers, Roy (21 January 1983). "Hostile reception for Serpell options". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
  7. ^ "Sir David Serpell". The Telegraph. 6 August 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  8. ^ "Sir David Serpell". The Scotsman. 11 August 2008. Retrieved 22 February 2017.
  9. ^ "Lord Howell of Guildford - UK Parliament". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  10. ^ a b "The Rt Hon Lord Howell of Guildford is President of the Royal Commonwealth Society and '. The 'Council of Commonwealth Societies'- GOV.UK". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  11. ^ Retrieved 2 November 2015[bare URL]
  12. ^ dated 23 October 2015. Retrieved on 3 November 2015.[bare URL]
  13. ^ "George Osborne accused of secret war on PM's green policies as father-in-law is caught on video". The Independent. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  14. ^ Retrieved 3 November 2015. ((cite web)): Missing or empty |title= (help)
  15. ^ "Lords Hansard text for 30 July 2013 (pt 0001)". Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  16. ^ "Latest news from around Great Britain - MSN News UK". Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  17. ^ "Parliamentary career for Lord Howell of Guildford - MPs and Lords - UK Parliament". Retrieved 9 December 2022.
  18. ^ Debrett's Peerage. 2019. p. 3085.


Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byGeorge Nugent Member of Parliament for Guildford 19661997 Succeeded byNick St Aubyn Political offices Preceded byTony Benn Secretary of State for Energy 1979–1981 Succeeded byNigel Lawson Preceded byNorman Fowler Secretary of State for Transport 1981–1983 Succeeded byTom King Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom Preceded byThe Lord Jopling GentlemenBaron Howell of Guildford Followed byThe Lord Steel of Aikwood