John Smith

Born Sep 13, 1938

John Smith was a British Labour Party politician who served as Leader of the Labour Party from July 1992 until his sudden death from a heart attack in May 1994. He first entered parliament in 1970 and was the Secretary of State for Trade from 1978–1979 and then the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer under Neil Kinnock from 1987-1992.… Read More

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1938 Birth Born on September 13, 1938.


1956 17 Years Old He joined the Labour Party in 1956. … Read More


1961 22 Years Old Smith first stood as a Labour parliamentary candidate at a by-election in 1961 in the East Fife constituency; he contested that seat again in the 1964 general election.
1967 28 Years Old Smith was married to Elizabeth Bennett from 5 July 1967 until his death. … Read More


1970 31 Years Old 1 More Event
Smith first entered Parliament in 1970 and, after junior ministerial roles as Minister of State for Energy (1975–1976) and Minister of State for the Privy Council Office (1976–1977), he entered the Cabinet at the end of James Callaghan's tenure as Prime Minister, serving as Secretary of State for Trade and President of the Board of Trade (1978–1979). … Read More
1971 - 1974 2 More Events
1975 36 Years Old In December 1975, he was made a Minister of State. … Read More
1978 39 Years Old Smith's adroit handling of these proposals impressed Callaghan, and in November 1978, when Edmund Dell retired, Callaghan appointed Smith Secretary of State for Trade.


1979 40 Years Old In this post, Smith was the youngest member of the cabinet, and served there until the 1979 general election. … Read More
1983 44 Years Old 1 More Event
He became a QC in 1983, the same year that the constituency became Monklands East.
1986 47 Years Old Despite a quiet, modest manner, and his politically moderate stance, he was a witty, often scathing speaker. Smith was named as Parliamentarian of the Year twice: first in November 1986 for his performances during the Westland controversy, during which Leon Brittan resigned and second in November 1989 for taking Nigel Lawson to task over the state of the economy and over his difficult relationship with Sir Alan Walters, the Prime Minister's economic adviser. … Read More
1987 48 Years Old Smith was appointed Shadow Chancellor by Neil Kinnock in July 1987 after the Labour Party's general election defeat.
1988 49 Years Old 1 More Event
He suffered a serious heart attack whilst Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer on 9 October 1988 and was forced to spend three months away from Westminster to recover. … Read More


1989 50 Years Old 1 More Event
His weight dropped from at the time of the first heart attack, to when he returned to Parliament on 23 January 1989.
Following Labour's fourth consecutive defeat at the general election of April 1992, Neil Kinnock resigned as leader and Smith was elected Labour leader. … Read More
1993 54 Years Old 1 More Event
He also performed very well in the July 1993 motion of confidence debate on the Conservative government. … Read More
During Smith's tenure as leader the Labour party gained a significant lead in the polls over the Conservatives; on 5 May 1994, one week before Smith's death, the Conservatives suffered a major defeat in the British council elections, their worst in over 30 years. … Read More
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