John Smith
British politician
John Smith
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.
Biography
John Smith's personal information overview.
{{personal_detail.supertitle}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
{{personal_detail.title}}
Photo Albums
Popular photos of John Smith
Relationships
View family, career and love interests for John Smith
Show More Show Less
News
News abour John Smith from around the web
GRAY MATTER; The Biographer's New Best Friend
NYTimes - over 5 years
Stephen Mihm is an associate professor of history at the University of Georgia and the co-author of ''Crisis Economics: A Crash Course in the Future of Finance.'' LEGEND has it that the newspaper mogul Joseph Pulitzer stumbled into success, buying The New York World on a lark in 1883. But this didn't seem right to James McGrath Morris, who began
Article Link:
NYTimes article
Darts: Skipper leads Slipper to key Saints victory - The Press, York
Google News - over 5 years
SLIPPER edged past hosts St Paul's to win a high-quality clash in division one of the York John Smith's Ladies Darts League. Julie Stables checked out on 90 with a bull finish and St Paul's team-mate Amanda Bevan hit the tons, but Slipper captain
Article Link:
Google News article
John Smith tragically killed in an accident - Harnesslink
Google News - over 5 years
Well known and respected horse transporter John Smith was tragically killed in an accident on his property on Saturday morning (August 27). He was 61. Smith was best known for his association with Magnum Skipper, who won a New South Wales Sires Stakes
Article Link:
Google News article
John Smith column 8/27/11: Bishop wants ELCA to sing Mary's song of faith - Reading Eagle
Google News - over 5 years
Presiding Bishop Mark S. Hanson apparently adopted a style from some black preachers for his sermon opening the Churchwide Assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America last week in Orlando, Fla. - emphasis on a repetitive phrase
Article Link:
Google News article
Crackdown on business behind bars - Stuff.co.nz
Google News - over 5 years
Documents issued to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act reveal that prisoner Phillip John Smith's company has been selling Chinese electronics since 2008 – yet nothing about his actions was illegal. In February, The Dominion Post
Article Link:
Google News article
No charges will be filed in tragic motocross death - Northwest Cable News
Google News - over 5 years
Grant County officials say five year old Kaiden Henley was sitting on a bicycle watching the race when 29 year-old John Smith lost control of his motorcycle. Smith flew off his bike, which went about twenty to thirty feet before hitting and killing
Article Link:
Google News article
Jets Dial In To Pipeline For Punters
NYTimes - over 5 years
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. -- The Jets' history with Australian punters is believed to date to 1997, when Eric Mangini, then an assistant with the team, took time out of a vacation in Melbourne to put a young athlete with a big leg through a makeshift workout in a cow pasture. Mangini, who was visiting his brother, videotaped the workout and tried to
Article Link:
NYTimes article
American Axle names 2 new board members - BusinessWeek
Google News - over 5 years
American Axle & Manufacturing Holdings Inc. said Wednesday that Steven Hantler and John Smith were elected to its board as independent directors of the auto supplier, effective Oct. 27. Their terms will expire at the company's 2013 annual shareholder
Article Link:
Google News article
New CoPS officer a fan of 'old time policing' style - Delta-Optimist
Google News - over 5 years
John Smith, who conducts plenty of foot patrols, took over Ladner Community Police Station in April By Jessica Kerr, Freelance July 14, 2011 When Delta police Const. John Smith took over the Ladner Community Police Station earlier this year,
Article Link:
Google News article
Run For Your Wife sequel plays at Barn Theatre - Times 24
Google News - over 5 years
FARCE Run For Your Wife, which told the tale of bigamist taxi driver John Smith, was a huge success. To send a link to this page to a friend, simply enter their email address below. The message will include the name and email address you gave us when
Article Link:
Google News article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of John Smith
    FIFTIES
  • 1994
    Age 55
    On 14 July 1994, a memorial service for Smith took place at Westminster Abbey and was attended by over 2,000 people.
    More Details Hide Details The Archbishop of Canterbury George Carey gave an address. Following Smith's death, the Labour Party renamed its Walworth Road headquarters John Smith House in his memory. Tony Blair, Smith's successor as Labour leader, was highly popular and an effective campaigner and won a landslide victory in the 1997 general election. Smith's biographer, Mark Stuart, claimed that Smith could have won Labour a victory on a scale similar to that achieved by Blair because of the combination of the Black Wednesday debacle and Conservative divisions over Europe since 1992. Stuart argues that the lack of a "Blair effect" would have meant that the Conservative Party would have held slightly over 200 seats (rather than the 165 it actually won) in the House of Commons, leaving the Conservatives in a position similar to that of Labour after the 1983 election.
    On 20 May 1994, after a public funeral service in Cluny Parish Church, Edinburgh which was attended by almost 1,000 people, Smith was buried in a private family service on the island of Iona, at the sacred burial ground of Reilig Odhráin, which contains the graves of several Scottish kings as well as monarchs of Ireland, Norway and France.
    More Details Hide Details His grave is marked with an epitaph quoting Alexander Pope: "An honest man's the noblest work of God". His close friend Donald Dewar was the only political figure at the funeral; Dewar also acted as one of Smith's pallbearers.
    On the evening of 11 May 1994, with around 500 people present, Smith made a speech at a fundraising dinner at Park Lane Hotel, London, saying "The opportunity to serve our country—that is all we ask".
    More Details Hide Details At 8:05 a.m. the following morning, whilst in his Barbican flat, Smith suffered a fatal heart attack. His wife phoned an ambulance and he was rushed to Saint Bartholomew's Hospital where he died at 9:15 a.m., having never regained consciousness. On 28 April, a fortnight before his death, Smith had visited the same accident and emergency department to campaign against its proposed closure. The doctor who had served as his tour guide, Professor Mike Besser, tried unsuccessfully to save Smith's life. In response to his death, John Major paid tribute in the House of Commons to Smith, culminating in the now well-known line, that he and Smith "would share a drink: sometimes tea, sometimes not tea". It was reported that there was weeping in the chamber. On the day of his death, the BBC 9 O'Clock News was extended to an hour as opposed to the usual half-hour. This replaced the medical drama which was due to follow at 9:30, coincidentally entitled Cardiac Arrest. During Question Time that evening, panellists paid tribute to Smith instead of debating. George Robertson and Menzies Campbell were among the participants.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details This happened in spite of the strong economic recovery and reduction of unemployment which had followed the declaration of the recession's end in April 1993. Labour's opinion poll lead was shown to be as high as 23% in May 1994.
  • 1993
    Age 54
    Despite this, during his time as leader of the Labour Party, Smith abolished the trade union block vote at Labour party conferences and replaced it with "One member, one vote" at the 1993 party conference.
    More Details Hide Details He also committed a future Labour government to establishing a Scottish Parliament, an aim fulfilled by his successors after his death (most notably his close friend Donald Dewar). Smith was also a committed British Unionist.
    He also performed very well in the July 1993 motion of confidence debate on the Conservative government.
    More Details Hide Details Despite his dispatch box successes (Smith was always more effective in the House of Commons than on platforms or at Prime Minister's Questions, though he began to improve at the latter towards the end of his life), Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were, under Smith's leadership, restless and privately anxious that the party had adopted a "One more heave" approach and had become over-cautious in tackling the legacy of "tax and spend".
  • 1992
    Age 53
    In the same speech, Smith also attacked the Conservatives' broken election promises (in particular Lamont's recent Budget decision to impose VAT on domestic energy bills) – claiming he possessed the last copy of a 1992 policy document "to escape the Central Office shredder".
    More Details Hide Details
    This echoed his attacks on Major's government made before the 1992 election (while he was still shadow chancellor), most memorably when he labelled "irresponsible" Conservative plans for cutting income tax to 20%, and joked at a Labour Party rally in Sheffield that the Conservatives would have a box-office disaster with "Honey, I Shrunk the Economy" – in reference to the recent Disney motion picture Honey, I Shrunk the Kids – mocking the recession which was plaguing the British economy at the time.
    More Details Hide Details In a June 1993 debate, Smith again savaged the Conservative Government, saying that under John Major's premiership, "the man with the non-Midas touch is in charge. It is no wonder that we live in a country where the Grand National does not start and hotels fall into the sea" (in reference to the 1993 Grand National, which was cancelled after a false start, and to Holbeck Hall Hotel in Scarborough, which had recently collapsed off a cliff). This was in spite of neither of these events being part of the political or economic scene. During the same debate, Smith commented on a recent Government defeat in the Newbury by-election to the Liberal Democrats, a poor showing in the local elections and a subsequent Cabinet reshuffle by saying that "if we were to offer that tale of events to the BBC Light Entertainment Department as a script for a programme, I think that the producers of Yes Minister would have turned it down as hopelessly over the top. It might have even been too much for Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em".
    In September 1992, Smith made his maiden speech as party leader, in which he attacked the Government's ERM debacle eight days earlier - an event which was seen by many observers as playing a large part in determining the outcome of the next general election, long before it was even on the political horizon, as from that point onwards the Labour Party was ascendant in the opinion polls, winning several seats from the Conservatives in by-elections (eventually even attracting a Conservative MP to defect to Labour) and trouncing them in local council elections.
    More Details Hide Details In this speech, he referred to John Major as "the devalued Prime Minister of a devalued Government". At Labour's party conference, Smith branded Major and Norman Lamont the "Laurel and Hardy of British politics".
    After Labour leader Neil Kinnock resigned following the Party's surprise loss in the 1992 general election to new Conservative leader John Major, Smith was elected his successor in July 1992.
    More Details Hide Details He continued Kinnock's moves to reform Labour, abolishing the trade union block vote at Labour party conferences and replacing it with "one member, one vote" at the 1993 party conference. However, his overall cautious approach to reform, which was dubbed "one more heave", sought to avoid controversy and win the next election by capitalising on the unpopularity of the Conservative government.
    Following Labour's fourth consecutive defeat at the general election of April 1992, Neil Kinnock resigned as leader and Smith was elected Labour leader.
    More Details Hide Details Although Labour had now been out of power for 13 years, their performance in the 1992 election had been much better than in the previous three. They had cut the Conservative majority from 102 seats to 21, and for most of the three years leading up to the election, opinion polls had indicated that Labour were more likely to win the election than the Conservatives. The resignation of long-serving but increasingly unpopular Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and the well-received election of John Major as her successor, had seen the comfortable Labour lead in the opinion polls wiped out and in the 17 months leading up to the election, its outcome had become much harder to predict. Much of the blame had been placed on Labour's "shadow budget" drawn up by Smith, which included raising the top rate of income tax from 40p in the pound to 50p, and the Conservative election campaign was centred on warning voters that they would face higher taxes under a Labour government.
  • 1989
    Age 50
    On 7 June 1989, he sang the theme tune for the soap Neighbours at the dispatch box, lampooning the differences between Lawson and Sir Alan Walters, who was critical of Lawson's policies but whom Thatcher refused to sack.
    More Details Hide Details Then on 24 October, he made another scathing attack on the differences. Two days later, Lawson resigned, followed shortly afterwards by Walters.
    His weight dropped from at the time of the first heart attack, to when he returned to Parliament on 23 January 1989.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FORTIES
  • 1988
    Age 49
    He spent three days in intensive care before leaving hospital on 20 October 1988, and made a full recovery.
    More Details Hide Details Smith made modifications to his lifestyle by going on a 1,000-calories per day diet, cutting down on rich foods and fine wines, giving up smoking and taking up Munro bagging and by the time of his death, he had succeeded in climbing 108 of the 277 Scottish Munros (mountains over 3,000 feet above sea level at the summit).
    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.
    More Details Hide Details On that occasion, he had complained of chest pains the night before, and had to be persuaded to cancel a flight to London so he could go to hospital for a check-up. He was examined at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary by an ECG. The doctor who examined him said "Whatever it is, we don't think it is your heart". Then Smith suddenly collapsed and was briefly unconscious before coming around.
  • 1987
    Age 48
    Smith was appointed Shadow Chancellor by Neil Kinnock in July 1987 after the Labour Party's general election defeat.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1986
    Age 47
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Smith made two notably witty attacks on Lawson that year.
  • 1983
    Age 44
    Smith acted as Roy Hattersley's campaign manager for the party leadership election in October 1983 and after serving a year as Shadow Employment Secretary, was Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry between late 1984 and 1987.
    More Details Hide Details
    He became a QC in 1983, the same year that the constituency became Monklands East.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1979
    Age 40
    In this post, Smith was the youngest member of the cabinet, and served there until the 1979 general election.
    More Details Hide Details In the early 1980s, Smith was Shadow Energy Secretary.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1978
    Age 39
    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.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1975
    Age 36
    In December 1975, he was made a Minister of State.
    More Details Hide Details When James Callaghan became Prime Minister, Smith became a Minister of State at the Privy Council Office, serving with Labour's Deputy leader, Michael Foot, the Lord President of the Council and Leader of the House of Commons. In this position Smith piloted the highly controversial devolution proposals for Scotland and Wales through the House of Commons.
  • 1974
    Age 35
    In October 1974, Harold Wilson offered Smith the post of Solicitor General for Scotland.
    More Details Hide Details Smith turned it down, not wishing his political career to become sidelined as a law officer. He was instead made an Under-Secretary of State at the Department of Energy.
  • 1971
    Age 32
    Smith defied the Labour whips in 1971, joining Labour MPs led by Roy Jenkins who voted in favour of entry to the European Economic Community.
    More Details Hide Details These included Roy Hattersley, Shirley Williams, Bill Rodgers and David Owen all of whom he was later to sit with in the Callaghan cabinet.
  • 1970
    Age 31
    At the 1970 general election, he was elected as Member of Parliament (MP) for North Lanarkshire succeeding Margaret Herbison.
    More Details Hide Details
    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).
    More Details Hide Details During Labour's time in Opposition to Margaret Thatcher's Conservative government, he rose through the Shadow Cabinet, serving as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade (1979–1982), Shadow Secretary of State for Energy (1982–1983), Shadow Secretary of State for Employment (1983–1984), Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1984–1987) and Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer (1987–1992).
  • TWENTIES
  • 1967
    Age 28
    Smith was married to Elizabeth Bennett from 5 July 1967 until his death.
    More Details Hide Details Elizabeth Smith was created Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill in 1995. They had three daughters, one of whom, Sarah Smith, has served as the Washington correspondent for Channel 4 news and now works for BBC Scotland. Their other daughters are Jane, a costume designer, and Catherine, a lawyer.
  • 1961
    Age 22
    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.
    More Details Hide Details
  • TEENAGE
  • 1956
    Age 17
    He joined the Labour Party in 1956.
    More Details Hide Details He became involved in debating with the Glasgow University Dialectic Society and the Glasgow University Union. In 1962, he won The Observer Mace debating competition, speaking with Gordon Hunter. In 1995, after his death, the competition was renamed the John Smith Memorial Mace in his honour. After graduating, Smith practised as a solicitor for a year. He was then elected to the Faculty of Advocates (the Scottish equivalent of being called to the bar).
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1938
    Born
    Born on September 13, 1938.
    More Details Hide Details
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
All data offered is derived from public sources. Spokeo does not verify or evaluate each piece of data, and makes no warranties or guarantees about any of the information offered. Spokeo does not possess or have access to secure or private financial information. Spokeo is not a consumer reporting agency and does not offer consumer reports. None of the information offered by Spokeo is to be considered for purposes of determining any entity or person's eligibility for credit, insurance, employment, housing, or for any other purposes covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA)