Howells went to Hornsey College of Art,which now is Middlesex University, where he was active in the famous May 1968 student occupation, and was the first protester to breach the Metropolitan Police cordon at the demonstration against the Vietnam War outside the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square in 1968.
After allegations that he hid evidence associated with the death of Wilkie, and an investigation by South Wales Police, Howells in 2004 commented in a BBC Wales documentary that when he heard that a taxi driver had been killed, he thought "hang on, we've got all those records we've kept over in the NUM offices, there's all those maps on the wall, we're gonna get implicated in this". He then destroyed a large number of papers, because he feared a police raid on the union offices.
He held a string of junior ministerial posts in various departments following the 1997 election until October 2008. These posts included a short spell as Minister of State at the Department for Transport, and from September 2004 served as a Minister of State at the Department for Education and Skills. He is a longstanding member, and former Chairman, of Labour Friends of Israel, “a Westminster-based lobby group working within the British Labour Party to promote the State of Israel” (Labour Friends of Israel press briefing, 2003). Dr. Howell's public statements on Israel/Palestine have typically echoed the official Israeli government position. In May 2005, Howells was appointed Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, with responsibility for: the Middle East, Afghanistan and South Asia, counter-narcotics, counter-proliferation, counter-terrorism, UN and UN reform.
On 06 October 2008 Dr Howells left the Government in a wide-ranging reshuffle of ministerial positions. Dr Howells was appointed to take over from Margaret Beckett as chair of the Security and Intelligence Committee, a Committee of Parliamentarians that oversees the work of Britain's intelligence and security agencies.
It is not enough to assume that if people eat the right kind of muesli, go to first nights of Harold Pinter revivals and read The Independent occasionally, the drug barons of Afghanistan will go away. They will not.
If this is the best British artists can produce then British art is lost. It is cold mechanical, conceptual bullshit. Kim Howells. P.S. The attempts at conceptualisation are particularly pathetic and symptomatic of a lack of conviction.Throughout his Parliamentary career he has been unafraid to speak his mind and has often sparked strong criticism from those he has criticised or offended. During a House of Commons debate on licensing laws he said that the idea of "listening to three Somerset folk singers sounds like hell". In a Today programme interview, while visiting Iraq on 11 March 2006 as Foreign Office minister, he said:
[Iraq] is a mess that can't launch an attack now on Iran; a mess that won't be able to march into Kuwait; it's a mess that can't develop nuclear weapons. So yes it's a mess but it's starting to look like the sort of mess that most of us live in.On 22 July 2006 Howell criticised Israel's bombardment of Lebanon while on a visit to Beirut, breaking with the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary's less critical line, saying:
The destruction of the infrastructure, the death of so many children and so many people. These have not been surgical strikes. And it's very difficult, I think, to understand the kind of military tactics that have been used. You know, if they're chasing Hezbollah, then go for Hezbollah. You don't go for the entire Lebanese nation.
He once described the royal family as "a bit bonkers".