The influential former secretary of the parliamentary Labour social gathering (PLP), Alan Haworth, Lord Haworth, who has died aged 75, was one of many least publicly identified but most important social gathering figures over the previous three a long time. He was a detailed private good friend of two Labour leaders, John Smith and Tony Blair, however extra importantly was accountable for restoring the misplaced political self-discipline amongst Labour MPs that proved very important in establishing the desire to win the 1997 normal election.
A radical pupil and leftwing activist in his 20s, he grew to become a Labour social gathering pluralist who understood most likely higher than anybody the best way the social gathering labored – regardless of the political self-discipline of any particular person. What’s extra, he knew its historical past and the rule e-book. This gave him a useful authority because the senior parliamentary backroom official, and meant that he was listened to – and heard – by the management in addition to by independent-minded potential troublemakers on the backbenches.
Haworth was broadly revered and far valued all through Labour’s ranks for the steerage he gave, notably to new MPs, and for his facility in delivering a tough message with heat and wit.
He joined the PLP workplace employees within the Commons’ cloisters in 1975 and was promoted to senior committee officer 10 years later. When Smith was elected chief after the social gathering’s fourth consecutive election defeat in 1992 he appointed Haworth as PLP secretary; Haworth was thus poised to assist Blair sweep to energy two years later. Haworth was by no means a Blairite and used to say that his recommendation was hardly ever adopted, however he did make sure that the social gathering chief caught to the foundations on events when Blair wished to disregard them. Blair habitually referred to as him “Mon ami”.
Haworth and his second spouse, the lawyer Maggie Rae, who had as soon as shared a flat with Blair’s spouse, Cherie Sales space, have been accountable for secretly introducing the long run prime minister to Diana, Princess of Wales, in January 1997, shortly earlier than the final election. Rae was a member of the authorized workforce at Mishcon de Reya, who had acted for the princess in her divorce proceedings, and she or he and Haworth arrange a hush-hush dinner at their then residence in Hackney, east London. The night was an ideal success, with the princess “mucking in”, as she was later recorded saying by Alastair Campbell in his revealed diaries; intriguingly, Diana additionally informed Rae afterwards, in response to Campbell, that “she wish to assist us if she may”.
Campbell data Haworth himself saying: “Think about a lad from Blackburn like me having his plate cleared away by Princess Diana.”
Haworth was born in Blackburn, the one little one of Hilma (nee Westhead) and John Haworth, who ran a grocery retailer. He was educated at Blackburn technical and grammar faculty and gained a spot to learn medication at St Andrews College, from which he dropped out after a 12 months. He subsequently graduated in 1971 from Barking Regional School of Know-how (a part of North East London Polytechnic; now the College of East London) with a BSc in sociology, externally awarded by London College. He was president of the scholars’ union, grew to become immersed in native radicalism and labored briefly on the executive employees of the faculty.
On the time an officer and activist in Newham North East Labour social gathering, Haworth was a number one determine in a controversial and profitable marketing campaign to disclose the function of freemasonry within the actions and insurance policies of the native council. He was additionally amongst these native social gathering members who ended up within the excessive courtroom on account of their try to deselect the sitting Labour MP, Reg Prentice – who subsequently defected to the Conservative social gathering and have become a minister within the Margaret Thatcher authorities. The courtroom case was thrown out, however occasions in Newham North East proved a catalyst for the bitterly divisive marketing campaign for larger social gathering democracy that may hold Labour out of workplace for a technology. Haworth joined the Home of Lords in 2004.
Within the Commons he had entered right into a “non-aggression pact” – to not use data they’d realized by mistake – along with his close to namesake, the previous Tory MP Alan Howarth, who had defected to Labour in 1995. The confusion continued, nonetheless, when Howarth grew to become a peer as Lord Howarth of Newport in 2005.
Haworth was a eager Labour historian and along with his colleague, Dianne Hayter, in 2006 revealed Males Who Made Labour, a biography of the primary 29 MPs elected for the Labour Illustration Committee 100 years earlier. He was additionally an avid rock fan. However his most important leisure pastime was revealed by the maps of Scotland and the Pyrenees on the wall of his PLP workplace, the place he plotted future hill walks. In “time period time” he led a Radical Ramblers group on walks on the South Downs Manner, the Essex coastal path or the Capital Ring.
He began mountaineering throughout his 12 months at college in Scotland and claimed to have scaled various the 282 Munros, Scottish mountains of over 3,000 toes. He grew to become a Munro “bagger”, a pastime he shared with Smith, to whom he was proud to have taught “a number of issues” about protected hill-climbing. Regardless of struggling the after-effects of Lyme illness, in 2001 Haworth bagged his final Munro – on the centenary of the primary such triumph – and went on to focus on the 226 Munro Tops, the close by subsidiary peaks. He “compleated” (within the jargon) this goal on 20 July this 12 months, once more the centenary of the primary such achievement, with Meall Coire na Saobhaidhe, close to Balmoral.
His first marriage, to Gill Cole, resulted in divorce. He’s survived by Rae, whom he married in 1991.