Geoffrey Howe, former UK Chancellor and foreign secretary, dies

Geoffrey Howe

THE family of Geoffrey Howe announced on Saturday October 10, that the former UK chancellor of the exchequer has died.

His family said that Lord Howe passed away late on Friday night after attending a jazz concert with his wife Elspeth. A statement said that “there will be a private family funeral, followed by a memorial service in due course. The family would be grateful for privacy at this time.”

Howe will be best remembered for his resignation speech which was pivotal in the downfall of then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in 1990.

Different views on Europe between Howe and Thatcher were the main reason for his resignation. He famously said that Thatcher had created a “nightmare image” of Europe and told a packed House of Commons that the Prime Minister’s attitude on Europe could lead to “increasingly serious risks for the future of our nation.”

Ending his speech, Howe said, “I’ve done what I believe to be right for my party and my country. The time has come for others to consider their own response to the tragic conflict of loyalties which I have, myself, wrestled for perhaps too long.”

Thatcher would go on to resign less than a month after Howe’s speech.

After the Conservatives took power in 1979 Thatcher appointed Howe as chancellor and in her second term he was foreign secretary. In 1989, after their differences with regard to Britain’s relationship with Europe became more evident, Howe was moved to an outside position as leader of the House of Commons.

Upon his resignation Howe was made a life peer and continued with his outspoken views on the importance of a strong alliance between Europe and the UK.

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