Norman Fowler, Baron Fowler
After serving as Shadow Minister of Transport, he was appointed Minister of Transport in 1979, being responsible for making seat belts compulsory. Later, as Secretary of State for Health and Social Services, he drew public attention to the dangers of AIDS. He resigned from the cabinet as Employment Secretary, and was knighted in 1990.
He was Chairman of the Conservative Party from 1992 to 1994, Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions in 1997–98 and Shadow Home Secretary in 1998–99. In 2001, he was made a Conservative life peer. He renounced party allegiance upon becoming Lord Speaker.
The son of N. F. and Katherine Fowler, he was educated at King Edward VI Grammar School in Chelmsford, in the county of Essex; after which he did National Service as a second lieutenant in the Essex Regiment. Whilst studying at Trinity Hall, Cambridge (BA Economics & Law 1961), he was Chairman of the Cambridge University Conservative Association in Michaelmas 1960, in which term he entertained both the Prime Minister Harold Macmillan and Home Secretary (and de facto Deputy Prime Minister, although he did not hold the title until 1962) Rab Butler. He then became a journalist, and worked on The Times.
Member of Parliament
During the mid-1970s Fowler was shadow Minister of Transport. In April 1976 he was photographed outside the Palace of Westminster having just taken delivery of his third four-cylinder MG MGB GT – he had reportedly rejected the idea of buying a V8 version on account of the cost.
Upon Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister in 1979, she did not immediately appoint Fowler to her Cabinet, explaining: "we were short of one place. As a result, Norman Fowler, as Minister of State at Transport, was not able to be an official member of the Cabinet, although he attended all our meetings."
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. Edwina Currie (Health) and John Major (Social Security) both served under him as junior ministers.
Backbenches, retirement and Shadow Cabinet
Having spent more time with his family, Fowler then returned twice to front line politics, first as Chairman of the Conservative Party (as a backbencher in Parliament) from 1992-4, during which time he oversaw the Boundary Changes in the early 1990s; then on the Conservative front bench as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Transport and the Regions, 1997-8 and finally, as Shadow Home Secretary, 1998-9.
In 2001, he stepped down as a Member of Parliament.
House of Lords
In May 2013, Fowler gave his support to legislation aiming to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples, stating: "Parliament should value people equally in the law, and that enabling same-sex couples to marry removes the current inequity.".
In 2016, he was elected as Lord Speaker. He is the third person and first man to hold the office since it was established by the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. He has stated that he favours reducing the House of Lords to 600 members.
Work in industry
He has been deeply involved in industry, having been on the board of directors of several companies. He is non-executive chairman of Aggregate Industries plc. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists.
Styles of address
- 1938–1970: Mr Norman Fowler
- 1970–1979: Mr Norman Fowler MP
- 1979–1990: The Rt Hon. Norman Fowler MP
- 1990–2001: The Rt Hon. Sir Norman Fowler MP
- 2001–: The Rt Hon. The Lord Fowler Kt PC
- Dod's Parliamentary Companion 2005, 173rd edition, London, 2004, p.581.
- "News: An MG for Shadow Minister". Autocar. Vol. 144 (nbr 4146). 24 April 1976. p. 27.
- Margaret Thatcher, The Downing Street Years (HarperCollins, 1993), p. 29.
- "Seat belt law introduction recalled by Lord Fowler". BBC News. 21 May 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- "RoSPA History - How Belting Up Became Law". Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. Retrieved 1 July 2011.
- Norman Fowler (5 July 2008). "Family first". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 29 September 2008.
- "No. 52026". The London Gazette. 23 January 1990. p. 973.
- "No. 56266". The London Gazette. 6 July 2001. p. 1.
- Michael White (21 February 2003). "Europe should appoint Aids envoy, peer says". Guardian Unlimited. Retrieved 13 April 2008.
- "Conservative Lord Fowler: If Parliament values people equally, it must make same-sex marriage legal". Retrieved 7 September 2016.
- "Lord Fowler elected as new Lord Speaker". UK Parliament. 13 June 2016.
- "House of Lords size should be cut by 200 peers, Lords Speaker says". 6 September 2016. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
- "The board at Aggregate Industries". www.aggregate.com. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
- "Freelance May00: Freedom of Information: your task". www.londonfreelance.org. Retrieved 7 September 2016.
- Official website of the Lord Speaker
- Hansard 1803–2005: contributions in Parliament by Norman Fowler
- "Europe should appoint Aids envoy, peer says" - a Guardian article by Michael White, dated 21 February 2003
|Parliament of the United Kingdom|
| Member of Parliament
for Nottingham South
| Member of Parliament
for Sutton Coldfield
as Secretary of State for Transport
| Minister of State for Transport
as Secretary of State for Transport
as Minister of State for Transport
| Secretary of State for Transport
| Secretary of State for Health and Social Services
The Lord Young of Graffham
| Secretary of State for Employment
| Minister without Portfolio
as Shadow Secretary of State for Environment
| Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Transport and the Regions
as Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
| Shadow Home Secretary
The Baroness D'Souza
| Lord Speaker
|Party political offices|
| Chairman of the Conservative Party
|Order of precedence in England and Wales|
as Speaker of the House of Commons
as Lord Speaker
The Lord Burnett of Maldon
as Lord Chief Justice
|House of Commons||House of Lords|
|Speaker||John Bercow||Lord Speaker||The Lord Fowler|
|Leader of the House of Commons||Mel Stride||Leader of the House of Lords||The Baroness Evans of Bowes Park|
|Serjeant at Arms||Kamal El-Hajji||Lady Usher of the Black Rod||Sarah Clarke|
|Clerk of the House||John Benger||Clerk of the Parliaments||Edward Ollard|