George Howarth

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The Right Honourable
George Howarth
Member of Parliament
for Knowsley
Knowsley North and Sefton East (1997-2010)
Knowsley North (1986-1997)
Assumed office
13 November 1986
Preceded by Robert Kilroy-Silk
Majority 25,690 (57.5%)
Personal details
Born (1949-06-29) 29 June 1949 (age 65)
Prescot, Lancashire, England
Nationality English
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Julie Howarth[1]
Alma mater University of Salford
Profession Engineer
Religion Protestant

George Edward Howarth (born 29 June 1949) is a British Labour Party politician, who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Knowsley North from 1986 until 1997, and since then for its replacement Knowsley North and Sefton East.

Early Life[edit]

Born in Merseyside, he was educated at the local Huyton Secondary School, the Kirkby College of Further Education, and the Liverpool John Moores University. He went on to study at the University of Salford. He served his apprenticeship for four years from 1966 as an engineer, and then worked as an engineer until 1975 when he moved into teaching.

Political career[edit]

In 1980 he joined Cooperative Development Services, and in 1982 was appointed the Chief Executive at the Walm Cooperative Centre. He became the Chief Executive of the Wales Trades Union Congress Centre in Cardiff, a position he held before his election to the House of Commons.

Howarth was elected as a councillor to the Huyton District Council in 1971 and served in its successor the Knowsley Borough Council until 1986, becoming its deputy leader from 1982-1983. He was the chair of the Knowsley South Constituency Labour Party for four years from 1981.

The sitting Labour MP for Knowsley North, Robert Kilroy-Silk resigned from Parliament to follow a career in television with the BBC. Howarth was elected on November 13, 1986 at the by-election with a safe majority of 6,724.

In Parliament he served as an opposition spokesperson on Environment 1989-1994 and Home Affairs 1994-1997. In 1997 he was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, and then at the same position at the Northern Ireland Office in 1999. He left the government in 2001. He has served on select committees. He became a member of the Privy Council in 2005.

Howarth served to enact the modern postal voting system. By 1999 the system of postal and proxy voting for those unable to vote at polling stations was seen as cumbersome and complex. Howarth, as Minister of State at the Home Office, chaired the Working Party on Electoral Procedures, which recommended that

  • Absent voting should be allowed on demand
  • The application and voting procedures for absent voting should be simplified

The Representation of the People Act 2000 implemented the recommendations. The Representation of the People (England & Wales) Regulations 2001 introduced the changes to the absent voting arrangements from 16 February 2001. The main change was to allow postal voting on demand.

Howarth has been successful in his campaigning for the closure of a Sonae Indústria factory in his constituency.[2] Despite strong opposition from Unite to save the workforce and valuable manufacturing jobs in the North West [3] the Sonae Knowsley site has now ceased manufacturing on 14 September 2012. There have been 220 job losses.


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Robert Kilroy-Silk
Member of Parliament for Knowsley North
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Knowsley North and Sefton East
1997 – 2010
Constituency abolished
New constituency Member of Parliament for Knowsley
2010 – present