Norman Fowler
Norman Fowler, Baron Fowler, PC (born 2 February 1938) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

Conservative Party (UK)
The Conservative Party, formally the Conservative and Unionist Party, is a centre-right political party in the United Kingdom that adheres to the philosophies of conservatism and British unionism. It is the largest political party in the UK, and is currently the largest single party in the House...

A politician, political leader, or political figure is an individual who is involved in influencing public policy and decision making...

 who was from 1981 to 1990 a member of Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Thatcher
Margaret Hilda Thatcher, Baroness Thatcher, was Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1990...

's Cabinet
Cabinet of the United Kingdom
The Cabinet of the United Kingdom is the collective decision-making body of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom, composed of the Prime Minister and some 22 Cabinet Ministers, the most senior of the government ministers....


Early life

He was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School
King Edward VI Grammar School (Chelmsford)
King Edward VI Grammar School, or KEGS, is a British grammar school located in the town of Chelmsford, Essex, England. It takes pupils between the ages of 11 and 18 — from Year 7 to 11 the pupils are exclusively male, although it becomes mixed in the sixth form .The present headteacher is Thomas...

 in Chelmsford
Chelmsford is the county town of Essex, England and the principal settlement of the borough of Chelmsford. It is located in the London commuter belt, approximately northeast of Charing Cross, London, and approximately the same distance from the once provincial Roman capital at Colchester...

, in the county of Essex
Essex is a ceremonial and non-metropolitan county in the East region of England, and one of the home counties. It is located to the northeast of Greater London. It borders with Cambridgeshire and Suffolk to the north, Hertfordshire to the west, Kent to the South and London to the south west...

; after which he did National Service as a Second Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment. Whilst studying at Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Trinity Hall, Cambridge
Trinity Hall is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. It is the fifth-oldest college of the university, having been founded in 1350 by William Bateman, Bishop of Norwich.- Foundation :...

, he was Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association
Cambridge University Conservative Association
The Cambridge University Conservative Association is a long-established political society going back to 1921, with roots in the late nineteenth century, as a Conservative branch for students at Cambridge University in England...

 in Michaelmas 1960, in which term he entertained both the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan
Harold Macmillan
Maurice Harold Macmillan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC was Conservative Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 10 January 1957 to 18 October 1963....

 and Home Secretary (and de facto Deputy Prime Minister, although he did not hold the title until 1962) Rab Butler
Rab Butler
Richard Austen Butler, Baron Butler of Saffron Walden, KG CH DL PC , who invariably signed his name R. A. Butler and was familiarly known as Rab, was a British Conservative politician...

. He then became a journalist, and worked on The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...


In opposition

During the mid 1970s Fowler was shadow Minister of Transport. In April 1976 he was photographed outside the Palace of Westminster
Palace of Westminster
The Palace of Westminster, also known as the Houses of Parliament or Westminster Palace, is the meeting place of the two houses of the Parliament of the United Kingdom—the House of Lords and the House of Commons...

 having just taken delivery of his third four cylinder MG MGB GT
The MGB is a sports car launched by MG Cars in May 1962 to replace the MGA. Introduced as a four-cylinder roadster, a coupé with 2+2 seating was added in 1965...

, having reportedly rejected the idea of buying a V8 version on account of the cost. At a time when a recently promoted Minister of Transport had imputed ownership of the family car to his wife, apparently on grounds of political correctness, former journalist Fowler's acknowledgment of his choice of a sports car provided an interesting contrast.

In government

As Secretary of State for Transport, Fowler drove through Lord Nugent
George Nugent, Baron Nugent of Guildford
George Richard Hodges Nugent, Baron Nugent of Guildford PC, JP , known as Sir George Nugent, 1st Baronet between 1960 and 1966, was a British Conservative politician.-Background:...

's 1981 bill to make seat belt
Seat belt
A seat belt or seatbelt, sometimes called a safety belt, is a safety harness designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result from a collision or a sudden stop...

s compulsory, a law that came into force in 1983.

As Secretary of State for Health and Social Security in 1986, Fowler implemented the first official drive to educate the British public to the dangers of AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

. Edwina Currie
Edwina Currie
Edwina Jonesnée Cohen is a former British Member of Parliament. First elected as a Conservative Party MP in 1983, she was a Junior Health Minister for two years, before resigning in 1988 over the controversy over salmonella in eggs...

 (Health) and John Major (Social Security) both served under him as junior ministers.

Backbenches, retirement and Shadow Cabinet

Fowler later resigned from the cabinet as Employment
Employment is a contract between two parties, one being the employer and the other being the employee. An employee may be defined as:- Employee :...

 Secretary in January 1990, becoming the first politician to cite "to spend more time with my (his) family" as his reasoning. Although it was the truth in Fowler's case, the expression later became a smokescreen for politicians who had quit high-profile roles for slightly more dark or controversial reasons.

Having spent more time with his family, Fowler then returned twice to the Conservative front bench, first as Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1992 to 1994, during which time he oversaw the Boundary Changes in the early 1990s, then as Shadow Environment, Transport & the Regions Secretary in 1997 to 1998 and Shadow Home Secretary in 1998 to 1999.

In 2001, he was made a life peer
Life peer
In the United Kingdom, life peers are appointed members of the Peerage whose titles cannot be inherited. Nowadays life peerages, always of baronial rank, are created under the Life Peerages Act 1958 and entitle the holders to seats in the House of Lords, presuming they meet qualifications such as...

 as Baron Fowler, of Sutton Coldfield
Sutton Coldfield (UK Parliament constituency)
Sutton Coldfield is a borough constituency represented in the House of Commons of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It elects one Member of Parliament by the first past the post system of election.-Boundaries:...

, in the county of West Midlands
West Midlands (county)
The West Midlands is a metropolitan county in western central England with a 2009 estimated population of 2,638,700. It came into existence as a metropolitan county in 1974 after the passage of the Local Government Act 1972, formed from parts of Staffordshire, Worcestershire and Warwickshire. The...


In 2003, he proposed that the European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 should appoint a high-level coordinator with ambassadorial rank to deal with the AIDS epidemic
In epidemiology, an epidemic , occurs when new cases of a certain disease, in a given human population, and during a given period, substantially exceed what is expected based on recent experience...


In 2006, he chaired a House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

 select committee which criticised the use of the television licence fee, which is used to fund the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

, as a tax
To tax is to impose a financial charge or other levy upon a taxpayer by a state or the functional equivalent of a state such that failure to pay is punishable by law. Taxes are also imposed by many subnational entities...


His book, A Political Suicide (Politico's Publishing ISBN 978-1-84275-227-2), was published in 2008 and it was shortlisted for the Channel 4 Political Book of the Year Award.

Work in industry

He has been deeply involved in industry
Industry refers to the production of an economic good or service within an economy.-Industrial sectors:There are four key industrial economic sectors: the primary sector, largely raw material extraction industries such as mining and farming; the secondary sector, involving refining, construction,...

, having been on the board of directors of several companies. Until 24 October 2007, he was Non-Executive Chairman
Non-executive director
A non-executive director or outside director is a member of the board of directors of a company who does not form part of the executive management team. He or she is not an employee of the company or affiliated with it in any other way...

 of Aggregate Industries plc
Aggregate Industries
Aggregate Industries, a member of the Holcim Group, is an aggregates, construction and building materials group, with its base in the United Kingdom. It was listed on the London Stock Exchange until it was acquired by Holcim in 2005.-History:...

. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists
National Union of Journalists
The National Union of Journalists is a trade union for journalists in the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland. It was founded in 1907 and has 38,000 members. It is a member of the International Federation of Journalists .-Structure:...


News International phone hacking scandal

The Conservative peer had demanded an independent inquiry into the phone hacking inquiry on 7 July 2011. He was also chairman of the Birmingham Post
Birmingham Post
The Birmingham Post newspaper was originally published under the name Daily Post in Birmingham, England, in 1857 by John Frederick Feeney. It was the largest selling broadsheet in the West Midlands, though it faced little if any competition in this category. It changed to tabloid size in 2008...

newspapers for five years. He said that the UK was faced by "one of the biggest scandals affecting the press in living memory".

External links

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