Andrew Smith (politician)

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For other people named Andrew Smith, see Andrew Smith (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
Andrew Smith
Andrew Smith MP 20050127.jpg
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
29 May 2002 – 8 September 2004
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Alistair Darling
Succeeded by Alan Johnson
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 October 1999 – 29 May 2002
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Alan Milburn
Succeeded by Paul Boateng
Minister of State for Education and Employment
In office
2 May 1997 – 11 October 1999
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Eric Forth
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
25 July 1996 – 2 May 1997
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Clare Short
Succeeded by Sir George Young, 6th Baronet
Member of Parliament
for Oxford East
Assumed office
11 June 1987
Preceded by Steven Norris
Majority 4,581 (8.9%)
Personal details
Born (1951-02-01) 1 February 1951 (age 64)[1]
Wokingham, Berkshire, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Val Smith[2]
Alma mater St John's College, Oxford

Andrew David Smith (born 1 February 1951[1]) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Oxford East since 1987. He served in the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1999 to 2002 and then as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2002 to 2004.

Early life[edit]

He was educated at Reading School and St John's College, Oxford, where he gained a BA and BPhil. He was the Member Relations Officer for Oxford and Swindon Co-op Society from 1979-87. He became an Oxford City Councillor in 1976, leaving the council in 1987. He contested Oxford East in 1983.

Parliamentary career[edit]

Smith has been the Member of Parliament for Oxford East, which he won in 1987 from the Conservative Party. After Labour's victory in the 1997 general election he was made a minister in the Department for Education and Employment. He was Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1999 to 2002, when he became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; he resigned from this post on 6 September 2004, to spend more time with his family. He won re-election in his Oxford East seat in the 2005 General Election, but saw his majority slashed by 90%.

He is best remembered by some for his opposing of the privatisation of air traffic control in 1996 stating "Our air is not for sale" only for Labour to switch policies and thereby propose a public-private partnership for the National Air Traffic Services. Others point to his stewardship of the Department for Work and Pensions and his focus on reducing child poverty when Minister there.

Smith is also the Chairman and one of the founding members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, launched in October 2008.[3]

Smith has occasionally rebelled against his party in Parliament, on issues such as a third runway at Heathrow, the Government's renewal of Trident, although he has been known to back opposition Liberal Democrat motions on votes concerning the rights of Gurkhas to remain in Britain and the introduction of Single Transferable Vote for elections.

In 2005 the Liberal Democrats came within 963 votes of winning the seat, with the drop in support for Labour widely attributed to the Iraq war, but in 2010 Andrew Smith secured a comfortable victory with a 4.1% swing to Labour, bucking the national trend.

Personal life[edit]

His wife Val Smith is a county councillor on Oxfordshire County Council and city councillor on Oxford City Council. He married Valerie Miles on 26 March 1976. They have a son and live on the southeast Oxford council estate of Blackbird Leys.


  1. ^ a b "Democracy Live: Your representatives: Andrew Smith". BBC News. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ "International Parliamentarians for West Papua outline". IPWP. 5 January 2007. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Steven Norris
Member of Parliament for Oxford East
Political offices
Preceded by
Alan Milburn
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Paul Boateng
Preceded by
Alistair Darling
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Succeeded by
Alan Johnson