About Martin

Martin Horwood is the Liberal Democrat councillor for Leckhampton in Cheltenham, and also a former MP for Cheltenham and former MEP for the South West of England & Gibraltar.

Photo: Anna Lythgoe

Martin was born and brought up in Cheltenham and was the town’s MP from 2005 to 2015.  In 2017 he stood down as a parliamentary candidate for the Liberal Democrats for personal reasons and was succeeded by Max Wilkinson.

In 2018 he was elected to Cheltenham Borough Council to represent Leckhampton ward and re-elected in 2022.  In 2019 he was elected to the European Parliament for the huge South West England & Gibraltar constituency alongside fellow Lib Dem Caroline Voaden. They remained MEPs until Brexit in January 2020.

As MP between 2005 and 2015, Martin worked tirelessly for local NHS services, for investment in local transport, for local companies and jobs and for a safer, greener town. He led the campaign that saved Cheltenham’s maternity unit and always championed a full-service local A&E department. Martin successfully campaigned for investment in local transport improvements and backed Cheltenham’s Lib Dem council in its record push for recycling – but consistently opposed the Tory county council’s incinerator plan.

In parliament, he gained national recognition for his stand on a wide range of environmental issues and jointly tabled the amendment that raised the UK’s ambition to cut back the CO2 emissions that cause climate change. He also took up a number of animal welfare and wildlife issues and worked for more social and environmental accountability for UK companies.

In the 2010 parliament, he was the Liberal Democrat parliamentary party’s spokesperson on international affairs and championed calls to defend human rights and combat poverty around the world. More recently he chaired the party’s new expert policy working group on Britain’s place in the world.

In the European Parliament, he sat on the DEVE international development committee and was a substitute member of the AFET foreign affairs committee and the SEDE security and defence committee, as well as being vice-chair of the Parliament’s delegation to Iran.  He was also Vice-President of the 108-strong Renew Europe group of Liberal and allied parties in the Parliament.

Professionally, he has worked for Oxfam in the UK and in India, as Director of Fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Society, for a local marketing agency advising national charity clients on fundraising and marketing and Bristol-based international development organisation Development Initiatives.

Martin’s wife Shona is a doctor working for the UK Health Security Agency. They live in Leckhampton with children Maya and Sam who both went to school locally. Martin is also a trustee of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust and a patron of both homeless charity Cheltenham Open Door and Gloucestershire Action for Refugees & Asylum Seekers.