Angela Smith, Baroness Smith of Basildon

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This article is about the peeress and former MP for Basildon in Essex. For the current MP for the Sheffield-area constituency of Penistone and Stockbridge, see Angela C. Smith. For other uses, see Angela Smith (disambiguation).
The Right Honourable
The Baroness Smith of Basildon
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords
Assumed office
27 May 2015
Preceded by The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Opposition Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords
In office
16 May 2012 – 28 May 2015
Served with The Lord Tunnicliffe
Preceded by The Lord Tunnicliffe
Succeeded by The Lord McAvoy
Minister of State for Third Sector
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Kevin Brennan
Succeeded by Position abolished
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
27 June 2007 – 8 June 2009
Served with Ian Austin
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Keith Hill
Succeeded by Anne Snelgrove
Member of Parliament
for Basildon
In office
1 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by David Amess
Succeeded by Stephen Metcalfe
Personal details
Born (1959-01-07) 7 January 1959 (age 56)
London, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Labour Co-operative
Spouse(s) Nigel Smith
Alma mater Leicester Polytechnic

Angela Evans Smith, Baroness Smith of Basildon[1] (born 7 January 1959) is a British Labour Co-operative politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Basildon from 1997 until she was defeated in 2010. She was a Minister of State in the Cabinet Office, incorporating the offices of Minister for the Third Sector and Minister for Social Exclusion.[2] She was made a life peer in 2010 and became Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords in May 2015.

Early life[edit]

Smith attended Pitsea Junior School and Chalvedon Comprehensive (later called Chalvedon School) on Wickford Avenue in Basildon. At Leicester Polytechnic, she studied Public Administration, gaining a BA. In 1978, she married Nigel Smith, who has written a number of books for key stage 3 and key stage 4 history.

From 1982–83, Smith was a trainee accountant with the London Borough of Newham. She then worked for the League Against Cruel Sports from 1983–95, becoming the head of Political and Public Relations. She was a political researcher from 1995–97.

Smith was a member of Essex County Council from 1989 and a member of the fire authority of the county of Essex.[3]

Parliamentary career[edit]

Having previously contested Southend West in the 1987 General Election, Smith was selected to stand for election for Labour a decade later through an all-women shortlist.[4] She was elected for the seat of Basildon at the 1997 general election, replacing the Conservative MP David Amess, who had moved to fight the neighbouring seat of Southend West.

In December 1997 Smith introduced the private member's bill to minimise waste generation, and was successful in negotiating its passage through Parliament to become the Waste Minimisation Act 1998.[5]

Smith was appointed a government whip in 1999, before being promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in October 2002. In 2006 she was moved to the Department for Communities and Local Government, with responsibility for the fire service.

On 28 June 2007, she was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown, entitling her to attend Cabinet meetings. She gave up this role at the reshuffle of June 2009, to enter the government at the Cabinet Office at Minister of State level.


Smith was created a life peer as Baroness Smith of Basildon, of Basildon in the County of Essex, on 7 July 2010,[6] this having been published in the 2010 Dissolution Honours List. She was introduced into the House of Lords on the following day.[7]

In the Lords, Smith was a Labour spokesperson on Energy and Climate Change from 2010 to 2013, Northern Ireland from 2011 to 2012 and the Home Office from 2012 to 2015. She also served as opposition deputy whip in the House of Lords from 2012 to 2015. On 27 May 2015, Smith was elected unopposed as Labour's leader in the Lords, and so joined Harriet Harman's shadow cabinet.[8]


In June 2009 Smith had to repay over £1,000 for wrongly claimed council tax expenses and service charges for her second property in Elephant and Castle. A review by Sir Thomas Legg uncovered further monies over-claimed by Smith making a total of £1,429 which Smith later returned.[9]

Animal protection[edit]

An active supporter of animal welfare, Smith is a patron of the Captive Animals Protection Society, a charity campaigning for an end to the use of animals in circuses, zoos and the exotic pet trade.[10]


External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
David Amess
Member of Parliament
for Basildon

Succeeded by
Stephen Metcalfe
Party political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords
Political offices
Preceded by
The Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords