George Edward Howarth (born 29 June 1949) serves as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Knowsley. He also served the seat's predecessors since being elected in a by-election in 1986, firstly as the MP for Knowsley North (until 1997) and then Knowsley North and Sefton East (1997-2010).
In 1980 he joined Cooperative Development Services, and in 1982 was appointed the Chief Executive at the Wales Cooperative Centre. He became the Chief Executive of the Wales Trades Union Congress sponsored Centre in Cardiff, a position he held before his election to the House of Commons.
Howarth was elected as a councillor to the Huyton District Council in 1971 and served in its successor the Knowsley Borough Council until 1986, becoming its deputy leader from 1982-1983. He was the chair of the Knowsley South Constituency Labour Party for four years from 1981.
The sitting Labour MP for Knowsley North, Robert Kilroy-Silk resigned from Parliament to follow a career in television with the BBC. Howarth was elected on 13 November 1986 at the by-election with a safe majority of 6,724. He has remained in Parliament since, becoming MP for Knowsley North & Sefton East in 1997 and Knowsley in 2010 as constituency boundaries were redrawn. Howarth won over 70% of the vote at the 2010 General Election
In Parliament he served as an opposition spokesperson on Environment 1989-1994 and Home Affairs 1994-1997. In 1997 he was appointed as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Home Office, and then at the same position at the Northern Ireland Office in 1999. He left the government in 2001. He has served on a wide variety of select committees. He became a member of the Privy Council in 2005.
Howarth served to enact the modern postal voting system. By 1999 the system of postal and proxy voting for those unable to vote at polling stations was seen as cumbersome and complex. Howarth, as Minister of State at the Home Office, chaired the Working Party on Electoral Procedures, which recommended that
The Representation of the People Act 2000 implemented the recommendations. The Representation of the People (England & Wales) Regulations 2001 introduced the changes to the absent voting arrangements from 16 February 2001. The main change was to allow postal voting on demand.
Howarth was appointed temporary one of two Deputy Speakers of the House after the 2015 Queens Speech until the new deputy speakers were elected on 3 June 2015. This was repeated following the 2017 Queens Speech and Howarth served until the new deputy speakers were elected on 28 June 2017 without running for the position himself.