A strong local voice with national and international experience
I've lived in this constituency for over 20 years and I have brought my family up here. Like many of you, I feel that I am part of the fabric of southern Oxfordshire.
But I also bring a range of national and international experience which I've gathered from politics, business and broadcasting. Two recent events stand out for me. I was particularly pleased to be invited by the Prime Minister to be a member of the Council of Europe and also to be the PM's Trade Envoy to Nigeria. You can find out on this web-site what I said at the Council and how the trips to Nigeria have gone. Both give me a role on the international stage which is joined by that which I have in the Middle East.
"[John Howell is] the right choice for Henley and a strong local voice" Boris Johnson
Pioneer of change in the world
It was hugely exciting to play an important part in the move of central and eastern Europe towards democracy and market economies. The collapse of the communist regimes of the area was one of the great achievements of the last half of the 20th century. My book 'Understanding Eastern Europe: the context of change' was regarded as a seminal assessment of progress to civil society and market economies in the area in the mid-1990s.
It was also a particular pleasure to lead UK business delegations twice to G7 meetings (under the Munster process) in central Europe and be part of the world of international trade diplomacy.
National recognition of this work came with the award of an OBE.
It has also been a pleasure to talk with the Israelis and the Palestinians and to support organisations like Save a Child's Heart which provides life-saving congenital heart surgery for Palestinian children and brings both sides together. At the Council of Europe I have been very active in the issue of refugees and of terrorism in Europe. And, in Nigeria it is a wondeful chance to work with a Government determined to take its full place on the African stage.
Business and broadcasting
I understand how business works too. As a former partner in Ernst & Young I've seen and advised some of our major companies and I have set up two SMEs (Small and Medium Sized Enterprises) of my own. I understand both the pressures they face and the key role they have in providing jobs.
"...as a relatively new business owner in Thame, I thought I would take this opportunity to thank you for all the hard work you do in the constituency. You are a champion for businesses in the area and for that you should be congratulated." A new business in Thame
As a reporter and business presenter for BBC World Service Television I had the privilege of questioning and commenting on some of the major UK and international stories of the day. A series of programmes I made on Bangladesh helped show life as it is in that country and I was also one of the first western reporters to interview on camera the first democratically-elected President of Mongolia.
It was some of these skills I was able successfully to bring to bear as a cabinet member on the county council responsible for driving through better customer service and real efficiencies.
Strong analytical skills
In the light of this experience it would be wrong not also to acknowledge the strong analytical skills I have acquired and which were evidenced in my academic work as a prehistoric archaeologist. Studying first under the iconic archaeologist, Stuart Piggott, this was advanced in my doctoral work in Oxford and the honorary post-doctoral reserach fellowship I was awarded at Liverpool.
My book on the Neolitihic of Northern France was an early example of the power of what later came to be called landscape archaeology.
Bringing this together
So an MP's job is not simply to look after his constituency. It's about much more than that. However, in the constituency I have consistently delivered against my local manifesto commitments. I have supported communities in forming Neighbourhood Plans. I have helped ensure broadband provision and I have helped too to ensure that we have state of the art medical facilities such as the newly refurbished hospital in Henley. I have championed the Green Belt and maintained pressure on traffic issues. You can read on the Blog page and the News page all that I do in the constituency.
More details of my parliamentary activities can be found on my Westminster page.