Geraint Howells

Geraint Wyn Howells, Baron Geraint (15 April 1925 – 17 April 2004) was a leading Welsh Liberal Democrat politician. Howells was born in Ponterwyd in Cardiganshire. He was the son of David John and Mary Blodwen Howells, both farmers.

The Lord Geraint
Geraint Howells cropped.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Ceredigion and Pembroke North
Cardigan (1974–1983)
In office
28 February 1974 – 16 March 1992
Preceded byElystan Morgan
Succeeded byCynog Dafis
Personal details
Born15 April 1925
Died17 April 2004(2004-04-17) (aged 79)
OccupationBritish politician


Howells was educated at Ponterwyd Primary School and Ardwyn Grammar School, Aberystwyth. During his parliamentary career Howells also retained close links with Aberystwyth and Lampeter universities.[1]

Pre-parliamentary careerEdit

Howells' main living was as a hill farmer in Glennydd, Ponterwyd in Cardiganshire. He held some 750 acres there with around 3,000 sheep. The majority were prize winning Speckled Faces. Howells was also a champion sheep shearer. He held senior positions in the British Wool Marketing Board and was also chairman of the Wool Producers of Wales, 1977–1983. Politically, Howells was elected to Cardiganshire County Council as an Independent in 1952. At this time it was normal practice in Welsh rural counties for Liberal members to stand as independents.

However, in 1958 he was briefly appointed as agent for the prospective Labour candidate for Cardiganshire, Loti Rees Hughes.[2]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Howells was selected as the parliamentary candidate for Brecon and Radnor in 1968. He was the first Liberal to contest the seat in the post-war period. He came third with 18.9 per cent of the vote. During this period Howells became one of the central players in the Welsh Liberal Party.

In 1972 Howells was selected as the parliamentary candidate for Cardiganshire, a seat with a longstanding Liberal tradition. It had been held by the Liberal MP, Roderic Bowen, until his defeat by Labour's Elystan Morgan in 1966. In the February 1974 general election Howells defeated Morgan and retained the constituency in several different forms until 1992. Thus he was Member of Parliament (MP) for Cardigan (1974–1983) and Ceredigion and Pembroke North (1983–1992) after boundary changes. Howells was the Liberal Party's spokesman on Welsh Affairs (1979–1987) and agriculture (1987–92). His Westminster secretary and agent was Judi Lewis (Welsh Liberal Democrat chief executive 1992–1997) whilst one of his researchers was Mark Williams who would later win the seat for the Liberal Democrats in 2005.

In 1992, Howells unexpectedly lost his seat to Plaid Cymru (which moved from fourth place to first). Plaid Cymru had formed an alliance with the Wales Green Party which attracted considerable support from non-Welsh speakers in the constituency. Howells was made a life peer as Baron Geraint, of Ponterwyd in the County of Dyfed.[3] Howells was a close friend of both Richard Livsey and Emlyn Hooson, both of whom he served with at Westminster in the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Howells was a passionate pro-devolutionist. He played a lead role in the 1979 devolution campaign in Wales. He was also able to get the Farmers Union of Wales (FUW) recognition as one of the official unions for government negotiations during the Lib-Lab pact on the 1970s.[4]

Personal lifeEdit

Geraint Howells married Mary Olwen Hughes on 7 September 1957. They had two children: Gaenor, a newsreader with the BBC World Service, born in 1961 and Mari born in 1965.


  1. ^ Dictionary of Liberal Biography, (1998) Politicos p. 190
  2. ^ Jones 1994, p. 57.
  3. ^ "No. 52998". The London Gazette. 23 July 1992. p. 12418.
  4. ^ Dictionary of Liberal Biography, Politicos (1998)' p. 190


External linksEdit

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Elystan Morgan
Member of Parliament for Cardigan
February 19741983
Succeeded by
constituency renamed
Preceded by
constituency renamed
Member of Parliament for Ceredigion and Pembroke North
Succeeded by
Cynog Dafis
Party political offices
Preceded by
Martin Thomas
Chairman of the Welsh Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Rhys Lloyd
President of the Welsh Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Martin Thomas
Preceded by
Emlyn Hooson
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Party
Succeeded by
Richard Livsey
Leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats