Gerald Howarth

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Sir Gerald Howarth
Gerald Howarth, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the MOD.jpg
Minister for International Security Strategy
In office
12 May 2010 – 4 September 2012
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by Ann Taylor
Succeeded by Mark Francois
Member of Parliament
for Aldershot
Assumed office
1 May 1997
Preceded by Julian Critchley
Majority 14,901 (32.1%)
Member of Parliament
for Cannock and Burntwood
In office
9 June 1983 – 9 April 1992
Preceded by Gwilym Roberts
Succeeded by Tony Wright
Personal details
Born (1947-09-12) 12 September 1947 (age 72)
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Elizabeth Jane Squibb
Children 3
Alma mater University of Southampton
Religion Anglican

Sir James Gerald Douglas Howarth (born 12 September 1947), known as Gerald Howarth, is a British Conservative Party politician. He has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Aldershot since 1997, having been the MP for Cannock and Burntwood from 1983 to 1992.

He was the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Ministry of Defence as Minister for International Security Strategy from May 2010 to September 2012. He is currently chairman of Conservative Way Forward.

Early life

The son of James and Mary Howarth, he was educated at Bloxham School and the University of Southampton (BA Hons), and married in 1973, Elizabeth Jane, née Squibb. They have two sons and a daughter. A qualified private pilot, he was commissioned into the Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve as an acting pilot officer in 1968,[1] serving until late 1969.[2] Twenty years later, in 1988, he received the Britannia Airways Parliamentary Pilot of the Year Award. In 1971 was employed by the Bank of America International Ltd., where he remained until 1977, when he moved to the European Arab Bank until 1981 (Manager 1979-81). He then became the Syndication Manager for the Standard Chartered Bank for the next two years, after which he was first elected to parliament.


Howarth was General Secretary of the Society for Individual Freedom, a pressure group, from 1969 to 1971.[3] He was also once an active member of the Conservative Monday Club while at university.[4] From 1973 to 1977 he was Director of the Freedom Under The Law Group.[3] He served as an elected councillor on the London Borough of Hounslow from 1982 to 1983, and sat on their Environmental Planning, and Finance and General Purposes Committees.[5]

Parliamentary career

Howarth was first elected for the Cannock and Burntwood constituency in the Conservative landslide victory at the 1983 general election, but lost his seat nine years later, at the 1992 general election. He left Parliament for five years, but was re-elected at the 1997 United Kingdom general election as MP for Aldershot.

Howarth was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Michael Spicer when Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Energy 1987-90, and as Minister of State, Department of the Environment in 1990.

Howarth and Christopher Gill (Conservative MP for Ludlow 1987-2001) demonstrating against the European Union in 2009.

He is a supporter of the British defence industry, when, speaking in support of the industry, he told delegates at a meeting sponsored by the Defense Industries Council that "People who decry the defence industry should hang their heads in shame because it is a noble industry". He also told the meeting that, should his party attain government, he could accept the title of "Minister for War" reflecting his belief that wider Government should recognise that Great Britain is at war and support the armed forces appropriately.[6]

Allegations of far-right sympathies were made against Howarth in a controversial January 1984 Panorama programme, "Maggie's Militant Tendency". Howarth and his close friend Neil Hamilton both successfully sued the BBC and were each awarded £20,000 damages for libel in October 1986, with their court costs paid. Further problems arose in 2001 when he was one of several famous faces duped into appearing on the Channel Four Brass Eye television programme; this was the notorious "Paedogeddon" spoof episode, where he agreed to read out a fairly ridiculous statement.[7]

He is known for his views on limited immigration, antipathy towards gay rights, free market economics, and support for the British Armed Forces. He is a member of the Thatcherite 'No Turning Back' group and the Freedom Association and is currently chairman of Conservative Way Forward.

He questioned the conclusion of the Macpherson report (into Stephen Lawrence's death) that the Metropolitan police are "institutionally racist" as "a grotesque over-reaction."[8]

In 2000, he described the lifting of the ban on homosexuals in the military as "appalling" and went on to say that the "decision will be greeted with dismay, particularly by ordinary soldiers in Her Majesty's forces, many of whom joined the services precisely because they wished to turn their backs on some of the values of modern society".[9]

After British Airways in November 2006 indicated that a member of its check-in staff would not be permitted to display a cross over her uniform, Howarth announced his decision to boycott the flag carrier and claimed that "the idea that somehow it has become unacceptable to demonstrate that (Christian) faith is bizarre...the cross is a modest symbol. It is not an aggressive or provocative gesture... it is a quiet demonstration of faith".[10]

In a programme in 2008 about the fall of Margaret Thatcher, Howarth told Michael Portillo that he was "gutted" when Thatcher resigned in November 1990 and that he "is, was, and always will be, devoted to her".

Following the expenses scandal of 2009, Howarth claimed that he had "acted within the rules" set out by the House of Commons, but nonetheless repaid expenses identified by Sir Thomas Legg as being unreasonable.[11]

After the 2012 reshuffle, he was recommended for a knighthood and was appointed a Knight Bachelor on 20 September 2012.[12][13]

In April 2013 he was appointed chairman of the Thatcherite campaign group Conservative Way Forward.[14]

On 20 May 2013, whilst debating the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, Howarth warned of "the aggressive homosexual community who see this as but a stepping stone to something even further." Howarth failed to clarify what the something further would be.[15]

In August 2014 he declared his support for Enoch Powell's anti-immigration Rivers of Blood speech in 1968. "Clearly, the arrival of so many people of non-Christian faith has presented a challenge, as so many of us, including the late Enoch Powell, warned decades ago."[16]


At the 2015 general election Howarth was joined in the Commons by his son-in-law, James Cartlidge, the Conservative MP for South Suffolk.[17]


  1. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 44713. p. 12124. 12 November 1968. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  2. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 45069. p. 3643. 26 March 1970. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Dod's Guide to the General Election, June 2001, Vacher Dod Publishing, 2001, page 152
  4. New Society, Volume 11, New Society Limited, 1968, page 592
  5. Trustees of Vulcan to the Sky Trust
  6. "Crawl to arms". Private Eye (1247). Pressdram Ltd. 16 October 2009. p. 9.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Diary Hugh Muir, The Guardian, 7 November 2007
  8. "Straw tells of Lawrence report impact". BBC News. 20 April 1999.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Second minister to boycott BA in growing row over Christian worker". Evening Standard. 21 November 2006. Retrieved 7 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. Castle, Pete (15 May 2009). "MP meets expenses row with defiance". Get Hampshire. Retrieved 7 August 2009.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. "Get Hampshire: Gerald Howarth 'recommended for knighthood'". Retrieved 28 November 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  13. The London Gazette: no. 60271. p. 18069. 20 September 2012.
  14. Hope, Christopher (2 April 2013). "Former Coalition defence minister takes over Margaret Thatcher legacy group to fight defence cuts". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved April 4, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  15. "Gay marriage: Deal to allow bill to proceed in Parliament". BBC Politics. BBC News. 20 May 2013. Retrieved 21 May 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  16. "Tory MP Gerald Howarth says Enoch Powell 'was right' in notorious Rivers of Blood speech". The Independent. 27 August 2014. Retrieved 27 August 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>


  • Copping, Robert, The Story of the Monday Club - The First Decade, Current Affairs Information Service, London, April 1972, (P/B).
  • Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1991, 172nd edition, London. ISBN 0-905702-17-4
  • Ellis, Dr.Frank, The Macpherson Report: 'Anti-racist' Hysteria and the Sovietization of the United Kingdom, published by Right Now Press Ltd., London, 2001,(P/B), ISBN 0-9540534-0-0

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
New constituency Member of Parliament for Cannock and Burntwood
Succeeded by
Tony Wright
Preceded by
Julian Critchley
Member of Parliament for Aldershot