Michael Howard was born in Gorseinon, Wales, the son
of Romanian shopkeeper Bernard Hecht. His mother, Hilda Kershion,
was Welsh-born. When Howard was six, the family name Hecht was
anglicized to Howard. He attended Llanelli Grammar School
and Peterhouse, Cambridge and was President of the Cambridge
Union Society in 1962. After taking a 2:1 in the first part of
the Economics tripos, he switched to Law and graduated with a
2:2 in 1962. Howard was one of a cluster of Conservative
students at Cambridge around this time, sometimes referred to as
the Cambridge Mafia, many of whom went on to hold high
government office under Margaret Thatcher and John Major. (See
Cambridge University Conservative Association.)
Howard was called to the Bar (Inner Temple) in
1964 and specialized in employment and planning law. The late
1960s saw his promotion within the Bow Group where he became
Chairman in 1970. At the Conservative Party conference of 1970,
he made a notable speech commending the government for
attempting to curb trade union power.
Howard studied at Cambridge, where he was president of the Union, and was called to the bar in 1964. He was elected a Member
of Parliament in 1983, and after several junior posts became minister for local government (1987-8), minister for water and planning (1988-90), secretary-of-state for employment (1990-2) and the environment (1992-3), and home secretary (1993-7). He emerged as a contender for the leadership of the Conservative Party following John Major's resignation in 1997, but withdrew after the first ballot and became shadow foreign secretary (1997-9).
Howard was leader of the Conservative Party between 2003 and
2005 and has held a number of cabinet posts in Her Majesty's
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