Distinguished friends

Michael Howard

Michael Howard, Lord Howard of Lympne, CH, PC, KC is a British politician. He was born in South Wales, the son of Hilda Kurshion and Bernard Hecht, a Romanian-born shopkeeper of Jewish descent who came to Britain in 1939. When Howard was six, the family name Hecht was anglicised to Howard. He studied at Peterhouse, Cambridge, was called to the Bar in 1964, and became a Queen’s Counsel in 1982. He was first elected in 1983 and was quickly promoted to Minister for Local Government in 1987. Under Prime Minister John Major, he held several cabinet positions, including Home Secretary.

Following the Conservative Party’s defeat in the 1997 General Election, Howard held the posts of Shadow Foreign Secretary (1997–9) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (2001–3). In November 2003 he was elected to the position of Conservative Party leader. In the 2005 General Election, the Conservatives gained 33 new seats in Westminster, including five from the Liberal Democrats, but this still gave them only 198 seats to Labour’s 355. Following the election, Howard resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party and was succeeded by David Cameron. Howard did not contest his seat of Folkestone and Hythe in the 2010 General Election and entered the House of Lords as Lord Howard of Lympne.