Geoffrey Howe, British politician, died at 88

  Dead Famous

Richard Edward Geoffrey Howe, Baron Howe of Aberavon, born on December 20, 1926 and passed away October 2015.

Known from 1970 to 1992 as Sir Geoffrey Howe, was a British Conservative politician.

He was Margaret Thatcher’s longest-serving Cabinet minister, successively holding the posts of Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary, and finally Leader of the House of Commons, Deputy Prime Minister and Lord President of the Council.

His resignation on 1 November 1990 is widely considered by the British Press to have precipitated Thatcher’s own downfall three weeks later.

Geoffrey Howe was born in 1926 at Port Talbot in Wales to Charles, an economist, and Gwyneth.

He was educated at three independent schools: at Bridgend Preparatory School in Bryntirion, followed by Abberley Hall School in Worcestershire and Winchester College in Hampshire.

Geoffrey then did National Service as a Lieutenant with the Royal Corps of Signals in East Africa, by his own account giving political lectures in Swahili about how Africans should avoid communism and remain loyal to “Bwana Kingy George”.

Having declined an offer to remain in the army as a captain, he went up to Trinity Hall at the University of Cambridge, where Geoffrey read Law and was chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association, and on the committee of the Cambridge Union Society.

Geoffrey was called to the Bar in 1952 and was made a QC in 1965. He stood as the Conservative Party candidate in Aberavon at the 1955 and 1959 general elections, losing in a very safe Labour Party seat.

He became chairman of the Bow Group, an internal Conservative think tank of ‘young modernisers’ in the 1960s, and edited its magazine Crossbow.

In 1958, Geoffrey co-authored the report A Giant’s Strength published by the Inns of Court Conservative Association.

The report argued that the unions had become too powerful and that their legal privileges ought to be curtailed.

Ian Macleod discouraged the authors from publicising the report.

Harold Macmillan believed that trade union votes had contributed towards the 1951 and 1955 election victories and thought that it would be inexpedient to adopt any policy involving legislation which would alienate this support.

Geoffrey described himself as quarter Scottish, quarter Cornish and half Welsh.

His widow Elspeth Shand is the paternal aunt of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.

Geoffrey Howe died at the age of 88 on 9 October 2015 following a suspected heart attack.