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Wednesday, 16 October, 2002, 16:17 GMT 17:17 UK
Dr Kim Howells

Date of birth

27 November 1946

Political profile

Kim Howells, who entered the Commons at a 1989 by-election - on the same day as William Hague - initially seemed like an unlikely figure to be prominent in a Blair government.

A former Communist and a leading figure in the South Wales miners' strike, though an opponent of Arthur Scargill, he is a sparky intellectual with a tendency to say what is on his mind rather than chanting party policy.

However, he moderated his performance and has become a successful minister, firstly at the DfEE and the DTI and then as Minister for Broadcasting and Tourism at the DCMS.

In the June 2003 reshuffle he became a minister at the Department of Transport, and in September 2004 moved on to become an education minister.

He retains his own views and continues to express them freely, leading many to view him as being on the fringes of New Labour.

But his enthusiasm and effectiveness as a minister has won him plaudits.

He does not easily fit into any convenient ideological boxes, tending to approach new situations from a pragmatic, "common sense" point of view.

Contact

Constituency 01443 402551

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