Tim Smith (politician)

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Timothy John Smith, known as Tim Smith, (born 5 October 1947, in Plympton, Devon) is a former British Conservative politician.


In 1977 he was selected to stand as Conservative candidate for the Labour seat of Ashfield in Nottinghamshire, at the Ashfield by-election, following the resignation of David Marquand. Ashfield was regarded as a 'safe' Labour seat, but on 28 April in an amazing swing, Smith overturned Marquand's October 1974 majority of 22,915[1] to win by 264 votes[2] over Labour's Michael Cowan. However, Smith was unable to hold the seat in the 1979 general election, was defeated and left the House of Commons.

He was subsequently selected as candidate for the Beaconsfield by-election in 1982 in which he defeated the Labour candidate and future Prime Minister Tony Blair, who also stood.


During the "cash-for-questions affair" it was revealed that he had taken undeclared payments of between £18,000 and £25,000 from Mohamed Al-Fayed, the owner of Harrods, much of it allegedly handed over in envelopes stuffed with £50 notes.[3] At the subsequent 1997 general election, he stood down, and left politics altogether.

On 3 July 1997 he was found guilty by Sir Gordon Downey of taking cash for questions from Al Fayed, along with Neil Hamilton. The report severely criticised the conduct of both Hamilton and Smith whilst MPs and said that if they had remained MPs, they would have faced a substantial suspension from the House of Commons.[4]

Smith now lives in Boyton, Cornwall.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UK general election results, October 1974: Aberavon — Banbury at Richard Kimber's Political Science Resources
  2. ^ 1977 by-elections at the Wayback Machine (archived October 25, 2009) at British Parliamentary By-elections
  3. ^ Ex-minister quits over sleaze, Daily Telegraph, Thursday 27 March 1997
  4. ^ Hamilton guilty of taking cash
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Marquand
Member of Parliament for Ashfield
Succeeded by
Frank Haynes
Preceded by
Sir Ronald Bell
Member of Parliament for Beaconsfield
Succeeded by
Dominic Grieve