Allegra Howard

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The Right Honourable
Allegra Howard
MP
President of Ordennya
Incumbent
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Vice President James Harvie (2015-2016)
Niamh Cooper (2016 - present)
Preceded by Frederick Xavier
Leader of the Coalition of Socialists & Democrats
Incumbent
Assumed office
29 September 2010
Deputy Kenneth Turing
Anthony Rhodes
Preceded by John Oak
Leader of the Opposition
In office
29 September 2010 – 7 May 2015
President Frederick Xavier
Preceded by John Oak
Succeeded by Frederick Xavier
Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
In office
17 July 2008 – 29 September 2010
Leader John Oak
Preceded by Jon Wilkinson
Succeeded by Anthony Rhodes
Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport
In office
9 June 2007 – 17 July 2008
Leader John Oak
Preceded by Allan Stewart
Succeeded by James Meacher
Member of Parliament
for Walthamstow
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Neil Gerrard
Personal details
Born Allegra Evangeline Howard
5 April 1977 (age 39)
Suttonford, Ordennya
Nationality Ordennyan
Political party Coalition of Socialists & Democrats (2007 - present)
Other political
affiliations
Labour (Before 2007)
Spouse(s) Aisling Cooper (m. 2005)
Children 3 daughters
Residence 10 Albert Street
Alma mater Chronohaben School of Journalism and Social Sciences
Profession Journalist
Religion Unitarian

Allegra Evangeline Howard (born 5 April 1977) is an Ordennyan author, journalist, and politician, who has been President of Ordennya since the 2015 General Election, Leader of the Coalition of Socialists & Democrats since 2010, and Member of Parliament for the Chronohaben constituency of Walthamstow since 2005. Before entering politics she worked as a junior journalist for with the OBC, and as an activist in Compass. In Parliament she has served in various shadow cabinet positions, and is cited as Ordennya's youngest successful politician.

Early life and career

Howard was born in Suttonford, and is the daughter of Evie Gloria Sanders (née Martin) and James Albert Howard, both active in the Labour Party. Her father was a social worker and her mother a counsellor.

She grew up in a working class environment under the Conservative government of Andrew Fletcher, and attended a state comprehensive, Suttonford High School, up to the point of her A-Levels, when she attended Walthamstow Grammar School, following her parents' move to Chronohaben. Howard attended the Chronohaben School of Journalism and Social Sciences, where she did a degree in Politics and Journalism.

Early career

Following her graduation she worked as a journalist for the Ordennyan Broadcasting Corporation (OBC), before becoming a Waltham Borough Councillor for the Labour Party. While a Councillor she served on the executive of the left wing think tank known as Compass, and as a speechwriter and researcher for Kenneth Whitehall.

In Parliament

In 2005 Howard was selected from an all-female shortlist as the Labour Party candidate for Walthamstow, being elected to Parliament at the 2005 general election, retaining the seat for her party as successor to the previous Labour MP, Neil Gerrard, who had retired from the Commons. In Parliament she was elected to the Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media, and Sport, serving as a committee member for a year before her promotion to the Labour frontbench. Within the Labour Party, she was an active member of the New Left movement, and was an ardent and vocal opponent of the Hard Left movement around Michael Wilson, despite the two movements sharing a number of views.

Frontbencher

In the May of 2006 she was appointed to the Labour frontbench as a spokesperson on Culture, Media, and Sport by then-Labour Party leader John Oak. Her performance at the despatch box earned her much praise from her colleagues, and she was frequently touted as a potential future Party Leader. Following the death of George Zalmer, the Shadow Culture Secretary, in 2007, John Oak appointed her as his replacement.

Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media, and Sport

In her role as Shadow Culture Secretary, she led the Labour Party's opposition to the privatization of the OBC, the plans for which were dropped after the bill that would have led to privatization was defeated in a Senate vote. She also led opposition to the censorship of newspapers and online media, calling it "a betrayal of the principals Ordennya was founded upon."

She worked closely with Oak in stirring up support in the New Left movement for a merger with the Democratic Party (into what is now known as the Coalition of Socialists & Democrats, and in return was promoted to Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs by leader John Oak, in 2008.

Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

As Shadow Foreign Secretary, Howard was instrumental in dismantling the government's plans for intervention in the Gulf of Owen conflict, and on the 2nd of December 2009 delivered an impassioned speech against any intervention when the matter came up for a Commons vote. The government motion was defeated with a majority of 174 votes, with many MPs citing Howard's speech as the reason for their voting against.

She also led CSD opposition to the proposal to have Ordennya withdraw from the Democratic Socialist Assembly, the proposal for which was defeated in a nationwide referendum.

Come the 2010 General Election, Oak had granted his shadow cabinet the right to campaign for and put forward their own policies, while he acted as an 'overseer'. Howard put forward a non-interventionist, ethical foreign policy, which involved closer collaboration with allies and working towards peaceful settlements in any conflicts, rather than looking to a military solution. The election resulted in the Conservative's losing their Commons majority by just 3 seats, but were able to rely on tacit support from the Liberal Democrats to keep them in power. Howard was among the voices in the CSD asking Oak to stay on, as they'd made significant gains against the Conservatives, but Oak resigned nonetheless, triggering a leadership election.

Leader of the Coalition of Socialists & Democrats

Leadership campaign

Main article: Coalition of Socialists & Democrats leadership election, 2010

Following Oak's resignation, many people signed off Howard standing because of her age, and she'd repeatedly said during the general election campaign there was no chance of her standing if Oak resigned. However, on the 2 June media sources began to report that she was considering a leadership bid, as the three candidates in the race, Keir Starmer, Shadow Home Secretary, Florence Whitaker, Shadow Vice President, and Senator Thomas Denning, Shadow Justice Secretary, were all from either the Centrist 'Progressive' faction, or the Centre-Left 'Nordic' faction. This came to a head when Michael Wilson, leader of the Hard Left faction, ruled himself out as a candidate, and even approached Howard encouraging her to stand as the broad left candidate, saying in an interview to OBC "I said to her 'Like me, you're an ardent leftist. But you showed that you can work with those on the right of our Party. I can't. We need unity, and you can bring it about.'" The next day, Howard confirmed to her local newspaper, The Walthamstow Tribune, that she would stand in the election on a "clear anti-austerity platform". She added: "This decision is in response to an overwhelming call by leftist members who want to see a broader range of candidates and a thorough debate about the future of the party. I am standing to give leftist members a voice in this debate".

Despite Howard's senior position in the Coalition, she had the lowest number of nominations of any of the leadership candidates, with various MPs citing her youth and inexperience as one of her biggest drawbacks, and several who nominated her later claimed to have cleared her to run more to widen the political debate within the party than because of a desire or expectation that she would win. Nonetheless, she rapidly became the frontrunner among the candidates.

It was written into the CSD's constitution that members of public who supported the Coalition's aims and values could join the party as "registered supporters" for £3 and be entitled to vote in the election. There was speculation the rule change would lead to Howard being elected by registered supporters without majority support from ordinary members. Howard was elected party leader in a landslide victory on 12 September 2015 with 62% of first-preference votes in the first round of voting. It has been calculated that Howard would have won in the first round with 51% of votes, even without "£3 registered supporters", having gained the support of 49.6% of full members and 57.6% of affiliated supporters. Howard's 40.5% majority was larger than that attained by Frederick Miller in 1994. Her margin of victory was said to be "the largest mandate ever won by a party leader", though no previous Labour leader had been elected with so little support from its own MPs. Despite the lack of support from her MP's beforehand, they all vowed to respect the will of the membership, and work with Howard as leader, enabling her to present a united front in Parliament.

Leader of the Opposition

To be added

2015 general election

To be added

President of Ordennya

To be added

Personal life

Howard is openly lesbian, and is married to fellow journalist Aisling Cooper. They met in their first year at the Chronohaben School for Journalism and Social Sciences, and married shortly after Howard's election to Parliament in 2005. Together, they have three daughters, one born to Howard by sperm donor, the other born to Cooper by the same method, and one adopted.

In terms of religion, Howard was raised as a Methodist, but whilst studying her A-Levels converted to Unitarianism, as their open mindedness and room for open debate attracted her. She rarely talks about her religion, preferring to keep it out of politics, and stating that her religion is a deeply personal matter for her.

Election results

To be added