David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford

David Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford
The Right Honourable
The Lord Howell of Guildford
Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Assumed office
14 May 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron
Secretary of State for Transport
In office
14 September 1981 – 11 June 1983
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Norman Fowler
Succeeded by Tom King
Secretary of State for Energy
In office
4 May 1979 – 14 September 1981
Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher
Preceded by Tony Benn
Succeeded by Nigel Lawson
Member of Parliament
for Guildford
In office
31 March 1966 – 1 May 1997
Preceded by George Nugent
Succeeded by Nick St Aubyn
Personal details
Born 18 January 1936 (1936-01-18) (age 75)
London, United Kingdom
Political party Conservative
Alma mater King's College, Cambridge

David Arthur Russell Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford, PC (born 18 January 1936), is a British Conservative politician, journalist, and economic consultant. Having been successively Secretary of State for Energy and then for Transport under Margaret Thatcher, Howell is now a Minister of State in the Foreign Office. Along with William Hague, Sir George Young and Kenneth Clarke, he is one of the few Cabinet ministers from the 1979-1997 governments who still holds high office in the party, being its deputy leader in the House of Lords. His daughter, Frances, is married to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Conservative MP George Osborne.[1]



Howell is the son of Colonel Arthur Howard Eckford Howell, who lived at 5 Headford Place, London, gained the rank of Colonel in the service of the Royal Artillery and was decorated with the awards of the Territorial Decoration (TD) and Companion of the Distinguished Service Order (DSO) (son of Lieutenant Colonel Ernest Alfred Russell Howell), and wife (m. 9 April 1931) Beryl Stuart Bowater, daughter of Sir Frank Henry Bowater, 1st Baronet and Ethel Anita Fryar. His sister Jane Duncombe Howell (b. 25 May 1932) married on 30 January 1957 and divorced before 1976 Lt.-Col. Sir Peter Evan Wyldbore Gibbs (b. 1 February 1934), who was educated at Eton College, Eton, Berkshire, gained the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel in the service of the Coldstream Guards, was invested as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) in 1997 and lived in 1999 at Leigh House, Chagford, Devon, having remarried on 11 June 1976 E. Sally (?), formerly Mrs. Tyser, having issue from both marriages.

Early life

Educated at Eton College, Berkshire prior to going up to King's College, Cambridge, where he graduated in 1959 with a Master of Arts (MA). He worked in HM Treasury with the Treasury Economic Section from 1959–60, in which year he wrote the book Principles to Practice, published 1960, jointly, and then spent four years between then and 1964 as a journalist, leader writer and special correspondent on The Daily Telegraph and as editor of Crossbow from 1962-64 before he unsuccessfully contested the constituency of Dudley in the 1964 general election.[1][2] He then became the Director of the Conservative Political Centre between 1964 and 1966 and wrote the book The Conservative Opportunity, published 1965.

Political career

Two years later, in 1966, he won the MP seat of Guildford in Surrey, for the Conservative Party, a position he retained until retiring at the 1997 general election, at which time he was made a life peer as Baron Howell of Guildford, of Penton Mewsey, in the County of Hampshire, on 19 April.[1]

Howell, a junior minister in the Edward Heath Government (1970–1974), served as Lord Commissioner of Treasury between 1970 and 1971 and Parliamentary Secretary for the Civil Service Department between 1970 and 1972, and played a key role in the establishment of the Central Policy Review Staff, a "central capability" policy unit based in the Cabinet Office. He also held the offices of Under-Secretary for Employment (1971-1972), Under-Secretary for Northern Ireland (1972), Minister of State for Northern Ireland (1972-1974) and Minister of State for Energy (1974).

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. By that time he wrote the book Freedom and Capital, published 1981. In 1979 he was also invested as a Privy Counsellor (PC). 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.[1] He later wrote the book The Edge of Now: new questions for democracy in the network age, published 2000, and was decorated with the award of Grand Cordon of the Order of the Sacred Treasure of Japan in 2001.

In May 2010, Howell was appointed a Minister of State in the Foreign Office in David Cameron's government, under William Hague as Foreign Secretary.

Marriage and issue

Lord Howell married in 1967 Cary Davina Wallace, daughter of David John Wallace (1914 - k.i.a., World War II, Greece, 1944, son of Euan Wallace by first wife Idina Sackville) and wife (m. 1939) Joan Prudence Magor (who later remarried on 3 March 1948 Gerald Frederick Walter de Winton), and had three children:

  • Hon. Frances Victoria Howell (b. 18 February 1969), a writer, wife of George Gideon Oliver Osborne, MP
  • Hon. Katherine "Kate" Davina Howell (born 6 October 1970), wife of Paul Bain, by whom she had Jack-Daniel Maconald(b. 22 June 1992) and Oliver Bartholomew (b. 20 September 1995)
  • Hon. Tobias "Toby" David Howell (b. 1975), unmarried and without issue


  1. ^ a b c d Charles Mosley. Burke's Peerage and Baronetage. 2 (107 ed.). p. 1989. 
  2. ^ "David Arthur Russell Howell, Baron Howell of Guildford". thePeerage.com. http://thepeerage.com/p17578.htm. 


  • Charles Mosley, editor, Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knightage, 107th edition, 3 volumes (Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.A.: Burke's Peerage (Genealogical Books) Ltd, 2003), volume 1, pages 51 and 456.
  • Charles Mosley, Burke's Peerage and Baronetage, 107th edition, volume 2, page 1989.

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Nugent
Member of Parliament for Guildford
Succeeded by
Nick St Aubyn
Political offices
Preceded by
Tony Benn
Secretary of State for Energy
Succeeded by
Nigel Lawson
Preceded by
Norman Fowler
Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
Tom King

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