Manager Paul Lambert said: “I think he has been brilliant for Leeds – how he has played but also being their captain brings its own demands. It’s a fantastic club, Leeds.”
Howson joins for an undisclosed fee and on a three and a half year contract.
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Since Guus Hiddink arrived at the helm, Chelsea have improved considerably after a tricky start to the campaign.
Newcastle United are staring down the barrel of relegation to the Championship for the second time in the past eight years.