David Howarth

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For the historian and author, see David Armine Howarth.
David Howarth
David Howarth 02.jpg
Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Justice
In office
18 December 2007 – 6 May 2010
Leader Nick Clegg
Preceded by David Heath
Succeeded by Vacant
Liberal Democrat Shadow Solicitor General
In office
2 March 2006 – 18 December 2007
Leader Nick Clegg
Member of Parliament
for Cambridge
In office
5 May 2005 – 6 May 2010
Preceded by Anne Campbell
Succeeded by Julian Huppert
Personal details
Born (1958-11-10) 10 November 1958 (age 56)
Wednesbury, Staffordshire, England
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrat
Alma mater University of Cambridge

Yale University Yale Law School

Website David Howarth MP

David Ross Howarth (born 10 November 1958) is a British academic who has also had public roles. He is the author of a prize-winning 'Textbook on Tort', the recently published 'Law as Engineering: Thinking about What Lawyers Do' and numerous articles in academic journals and chapters in academic books. He researches into a broad range of public and private law areas, conducting empirical research. He has engaged in policy making and leadership in public roles, previously as leader of the City Council in Cambridge UK and MP for Cambridge UK (as a Liberal Democrat, for the term 2005-2010) and currently as a UK Electoral Commissioner.

Education and academic career[edit]

David Howarth grew up on Mossley Estate, a council estate in Bloxwich in Staffordshire, going to Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall. Attending Clare College, Cambridge on an academic scholarship, he obtained a first class degree in Law and won the George Long Jurisprudence prize. He then won a Mellon Fellowship to study at the Yale Law School (gaining an LLM) and also in Yale University (gaining an MPhil in Sociology). He returned to Cambridge in 1985 to take up a series of academic posts. He has a long-standing commitment to teaching as well as research, introducing sociology and economics options to the undergraduate Law programme, and is Director of the MPhil in Public Policy, based in the Department of Politics and International Studies at the University of Cambridge.

Political career[edit]

Howarth was leader of the Lib Dem group on the Cambridge City Council UK in 1990 when it was in third place, and then leading it to become the principal opposition on the council, eventually becoming Leader of the Council in 2000. He stood unsuccessfully for Parliament in Peterborough in 1997 and Cambridge in 2001. In the 2005 general election he was elected Member of Parliament for Cambridge, defeating Labour MP Anne Campbell with a majority of 4,339 votes (and winning 44% of the votes cast). He was the first Liberal or Liberal Democrat to win Cambridge since the 1906 general election.

His work as a legislator has informed his research interests, and subsequently has published on the legislative process (specifically the Backbench Business Committee), conducted empirical research 'The Reality of the Constitution'. Highlights of legislative scrutiny included Companies Bill and highlighting the problems with the Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill. Also the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill, and various Criminal Justice Bills. Howarth also was Shadow Solicitor General and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice. He served on the Constitutional Affairs, Justice and Environmental Audit Select Committees.

He was one of the relatively few MPs not implicated in the 2009 expenses scandal, being singled out by The Guardian as one of the "Angels" for having " not claimed a penny in second home allowances" and commuting the 60 miles from Cambridge to Westminster.[1]

On 5 November 2009, he announced that he would be standing down as MP for Cambridge at the next election, citing a desire to return to academia, which he did so after the General Election of June 2010. He was subsequently reinstated in his old job, as a Reader in Law and Land Economy at Cambridge University.[2]

Since 1 October 2010, he has been an Electoral Commissioner, as the Liberal Democrats' nominee.

Interests and membership[edit]

He is a supporter of Aston Villa FC.

Personal life[edit]

David Howarth has two children and is married to Edna Howarth. Edna Howarth is a magistrate in Cambridge Magistrates' Court who was involved in the sentencing of Stephen Fry for a speeding offence.[3][4]


  1. ^ Gaby Hinsliff, Caroline Davies and Toby Helm (2009-05-17). "The week Britain turned its anger on politicians | Politics | The Observer". Guardian. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  2. ^ "UK | UK Politics | Lib Dem MP Howarth to stand down". BBC News. 2009-11-05. Retrieved 2013-12-19. 
  3. ^ House of Commons (2008). Hansard, May 6, 2008, Column 586
  4. ^ BBC News (2002). "Comic Fry keeps licence", December 23, 2002. Accessed May 7, 2008.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Anne Campbell
Member of Parliament for Cambridge
Succeeded by
Julian Huppert