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Cat Smith

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Cat Smith

Official portrait of Cat Smith crop 2.jpg
Shadow Deputy Leader of the House of Commons
Assumed office
November 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byMelanie Onn
Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs
Assumed office
27 June 2016
LeaderJeremy Corbyn
Preceded byGloria De Piero (Young People
and Voter Registration)
Member of Parliament
for Lancaster and Fleetwood
Assumed office
7 May 2015
Preceded byEric Ollerenshaw
Majority6,661 (14.5%)
Personal details
Catherine Jane Smith

(1985-06-16) 16 June 1985 (age 33)
Barrow-in-Furness, Cumbria, England
Political partyLabour
Ben Soffa (m. 2016)
Alma materLancaster University
WebsiteOfficial website

Catherine Jane Smith[1] (born 16 June 1985)[2] is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Lancaster and Fleetwood since 2015.[3] In September 2015 she was appointed to the Official Opposition frontbench as a Shadow Minister for Women, serving under Kate Green.[4][5] In June 2016 she was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet, with a new portfolio for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs.

Early life[edit]

Born in Barrow-in-Furness, Smith attended local comprehensive schools and Barrow-in-Furness Sixth Form College.[6] She moved to Lancaster in 2003 where she studied at Cartmel College, Lancaster University.[7] She graduated with a BA joint honours degree in Sociology and Gender Studies.[8]

Political career[edit]

Smith first stood for election in the Lancaster City Council election, 2007 in the University ward, where she was unsuccessful. Before entering Parliament, Smith worked for Jeremy Corbyn and as a policy officer for the British Association of Social Workers.[8][9] She unsuccessfully contested Wyre and Preston North in 2010.[9] Before the 2015 election, she was selected as the Labour candidate for Lancaster and Fleetwood, after winning a women-only shortlist.[10]

Smith has contributed to publications and news blogs associated with the Labour Party, including LabourList and Tribune.[11][12] She identifies herself as a Christian, socialist, feminist, republican and trade unionist.[13]

Smith was one of the 36 Labour MPs to nominate Corbyn as a candidate in the Labour leadership election of 2015 and one of the 14 to support him.[14][15] She has been critical of the 2016 European Union referendum, saying that younger people preferred to remain in the EU, while the majority result was to leave.[16]

Shadow Minister[edit]

Corbyn soon appointed Smith to be Minister for Women in the Shadow Equalities Office, where she served under Kate Green. On 27 June 2016 Smith entered the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs.[17] This followed on from a series of resignations of shadow ministers who had lost confidence in Corbyn's leadership.[18]

In addition to her other duties, Smith acts as Shadow Deputy Leader of the House, in which role she made her debut at the Despatch Box on 20 December 2016.[19]


On 24 May 2016, Lancashire Constabulary announced that an investigation had been opened following allegations that Smith broke election spending laws by spending thousands of pounds more than she declared.[20][21] In June 2016, Lancashire Constabulary were granted a year-long extension to investigate Smith's election expenses,[22] and in November 2016 they cleared Smith of any wrongdoing and fully exonerated her.[23]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2016 Smith married Ben Soffa, her partner of eleven years.[24] In January 2018 the couple announced they were expecting their first child in summer 2018.[25] Smith is a Methodist.[26]


  1. ^ "Statement of Persons Nominated and Notice of Poll". Lancaster City Council. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  2. ^ "Biography for Cat Smith". MyParliament. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  3. ^ "Lancaster & Fleetwood". BBC News. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  4. ^ Mason, Rowena; Perraudin, Frances (18 September 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn makes shadow ministers of his critics". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  5. ^ Duffy, Nick (18 September 2015). "Labour appoints bisexual MP Cat Smith to equalities role". Pink News. Retrieved 18 September 2015.
  6. ^ "Alumni". Barrow Sixth Form College. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Cat Smith". Labour Party. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  8. ^ a b Corbyn, Jeremy. "Report from Jeremy Corbyn MP – 30 years So far" (PDF). Junction Labour. Retrieved 1 June 2015.[permanent dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Lancaster & Fleetwood". UK Polling Report. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  10. ^ "All women shortlists, Labour Network".
  11. ^ "Cat Smith". LabourList. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  12. ^ "All Articles By: Cat Smith". Tribune. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  13. ^ Smith, Cat (22 August 2013). "Call a spade a spade and a Socialist a Socialist". LabourList. Retrieved 9 May 2015.
  14. ^ "Who nominated who for the 2015 Labour leadership election?". New Statesman. 15 June 2015. Retrieved 14 September 2015.
  15. ^ "Cat Smith talks Jeremy Corbyn, Jesus Christ and Why 'Socialism' Isn't 'Radical'".
  16. ^ "Lancaster MP Cat Smith says voters have been misled yet again". Lancaster Guardian. 24 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  17. ^ "MP Cat Smith promoted to shadow cabinet". Lancaster Evening Post. 27 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  18. ^ "Labour Shadow Cabinet resignations". The Guardian. 26 June 2016. Retrieved 28 June 2016.
  19. ^ "Commons Debates 20 December 2016, Column 1408". Hansard. 20 December 2016.
  20. ^ Staff writer (24 May 2016). "Labour MP Cat Smith denies improper expenses claim". BBC News. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  21. ^ Casalicchio, Emilio (24 May 2016). "Police probe into Labour frontbencher Cat Smith's election expenses". PoliticsHome. Retrieved 24 May 2016.
  22. ^ Crick, Michael (13 June 2016). "Did Labour's Battlebus operation break the rules?". Channel 4 News. Retrieved 13 June 2016.
  23. ^ "Police drop Lancaster MP expenses investigation". The Bay Radio. 11 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  24. ^ "Barrow-born MP weds her partner with Labour leader among the guests". North West Evening Mail. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.
  25. ^ "Lancaster and Fleetwood MP Cat Smith announces pregnancy". Lancaster Guardian. 13 October 2016. Retrieved 14 January 2018.
  26. ^ "Hansard" (PDF). UK Parliament. 2 January 2016. Lancaster is famous for its nonconformist residents, so as a Methodist I feel I am in good company. I am pleased to be making my maiden speech in the debate on Britain in the world, because it was my faith that led me into politics, through the campaigns to drop third world debt and the campaign for fair trade.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Eric Ollerenshaw
Member of Parliament
for Lancaster and Fleetwood

Political offices
Preceded by
Gloria De Piero
as Shadow Minister for Young People and Voter Registration
Shadow Minister for Voter Engagement and Youth Affairs