About John

John Howarth is MEP for South East England. He is a full member on the Parliament’s Budget Committee. In this role John will have direct involvement with many of the most complex aspects over the UK’s Article 50 negotiations aimed at leaving the European Union. He is also a substitute member of the Regional Development Committee and a member of the European Parliament Delegation to the Caribbean.

Before being returned to the Parliament, John spent 28 years as a business owner, director and consultant. He founded and operated an agency delivering advertising, brand and communications services to commercial, public and voluntary sectors. John also spent three years as a consultant for international business communications and public affairs company, Instinctif Partners and was a member of the Chartered Society of Designers.

Born into a mining family on Tyneside, John attended the local comprehensive school and became the first of the family to go to University.  He graduated from the University of Essex in Economics and went on to gain a Master’s in Art History and Theory studying cinema and visual media. John describes this as “a seemingly bizarre combination that was actually the perfect grounding for a career in brand and advertising”. He became involve with the Labour Party during the first of the UK General Elections in 1974. He became National Secretary of Labour Students, helping oust the Communist Party from control of the National Union of Students and became a Regional Officer for Labour in the South East.

In public life John served as a senior councillor first on Berkshire County Council where he was chair of Transport and spokesman on Environment. He helped squash plans to build 6,000 houses on the Kennet Valley flood plain, prioritise the building of the Reading A33 relief road, win the co-operation of the Council for the construction of Reading FC’s Madejski Stadium and prevent destructive gravel extraction in Slough. John helped establish the Thames Valley European Forum and successfully argued for the abolition of the Council and Berkshire’s replacement with unitary local government.

Following his election to Reading’s Unitary Council John again took responsibility for Transport where he led the Council to become the highest funded UK Transport Authority per capita. John led the successful major scheme bid for the reconstruction of M4 Junction 11 and delivered a major investment programme to modernise and re-brand Reading Buses, bringing in broader commercial expertise while retaining the company as a publicly owned business. He committed the Council to champion the Reading Station capacity expansion on the Great Western mainline, winning financial support for the scheme through the EU TENs (trans-European networks) programme and eventually winning support from the South West and Welsh Assemblies and ultimately the UK Government for the £790m works to the track to rebuild the station itself. John also led for the Council on several Urban regeneration projects in central and south Reading.

As a Member of the South East Regional Assembly and the Government’s Regional Transport Board, John won support for benefitting Brighton, Portsmouth and the A3 corridor. He served for eleven years as a Member of the Council of the University of Reading and was a Trustee of several charities.

John is married to Jane Coney, a Designer. He has two grown up children, Jamie – an Engineer, and Jess – a Visual Merchandising Designer, and a step daughter, Alex, who is studying Fashion Communication and Branding.

When not working John’s main interests are playing guitar, following Newcastle United, cooking for friends and family and the occasional round of golf.