Geoffrey Stewart-Smith

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(Dudley) Geoffrey Stewart-Smith (29 December 1933 – 13 March 2004) was a British politician. He served one term as Conservative Member of Parliament (MP) for Belper in Derbyshire[1] after he defeated the Deputy Leader of the Labour Party George Brown. In Parliament and outside it he was a fervent anti-Communist, and a leading member of the Conservative Monday Club.

Family[edit]

Geoffrey Stewart-Smith was educated at Winchester College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He subsequently served as an officer in the Black Watch regiment (1952–1960), including time in Nigeria and Germany.[2] His marriage in 1956 ended in divorce in 1990. There were three sons of the marriage.

Entry into politics[edit]

During the 1960s, Stewart-Smith was active in anti-communist circles. He was also a supporter of Edward Martells's Freedom Group and worked on The New Daily. Apart from his numerous publications, in 1965, he recommended a form of recreation of the wartime Political Warfare Executive and the Special Operations Executive, in order to "counter subversion". The following year, he became an advisor to British Military Volunteer Forces, a group who had planned to send at least a battalion of British volunteers to fight with the Americans in the Vietnam War. Stewart-Smith had lengthy discussions with Colonel Frederick Lash, the US Military Attaché in London on this issue. The British government, however, opposed the plan.

In 1967, he organised an interdenominational service at the Royal Albert Hall to commemorate all those who had died at the hands of communists. His estimate was that the total was then about 95 million, and was printed on the back of the programme of service. More than 4,500 refugees from behind the Iron Curtain attended the service. He was disappointed that only two MPs and two Peers attended, and said that was "typical".

Publications[edit]

In 1962, Stewart-Smith founded the Foreign Affairs Circle, the British section of the World Anti-Communist League, which published the anti-Soviet East-West Digest, a fortnightly publication sent free of charge to all MP's.

Stewart-Smith later founded the Foreign Affairs Publishing Company, which continued East-West Digest,[3] and published works from the British Right, such as Brian Crozier. It also distributed publications from British anti Union groups, such as Aims for Industry, Common Cause, the Economic League and IRIS.

Parliamentary activity[edit]

Stewart-Smith was selected as the Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Belper, Derbyshire, in 1966, and spent four years actively campaigning in the constituency to build up his profile. The constituency had been held by the Labour Party, but their hold grew increasingly tenuous, with prosperous suburbs of Derby encroaching on the seat. At the 1970 general election he sensationally ousted George Brown by 2,124 votes.[4]

Regarded as a good constituency MP by fellow members, Stewart-Smith demanded that Edward Heath's government raise their pay offer to miners during the crippling strike. He also attacked Margaret Thatcher on the end of school milk during the same administration. However, his work was not enough to prevent him losing his seat in the February 1974 general election after boundary changes removed a large area of Conservative strength and the national trend favoured Labour.

After Parliament[edit]

Stewart-Smith decided not to seek re-adoption but to concentrate on publishing anti-communist literature, mainly through the Foreign Affairs Publishing Company, of which he was a Director.[5] The company lasted until it went into liquidation in 1986. He was Director of the Foreign Affairs Research Institute from 1976 to 1986, and Director of the Foreign Affairs Circle, and the Freedom Communications International News Agency. He was editor of the East-West Digest, and a regular columnist in the Financial Times from 1968.[6] He was a City of London Liveryman, belonging to the Grocers' Company.

In 1974, he sought to distance his Foreign Affairs Circle from the World Anti-Communist League because of the WACL's perceived strong anti-Semitic element, saying: "We wouldn't touch them with a barge pole." In 1978 he issued a press statement about what he claimed was the growing number of ex-communists and left-wing extremists in the Labour Party.

Stewart-Smith was a leading activist in the Conservative Monday Club and in 1966 was chairman of its foreign affairs study group. In March 1975, he was one of the principal speakers at the Club's successful two-day Conference in Birmingham, the theme of which was "The Conservative Party and the Crisis in Britain".

Publications[edit]

  • The Defeat of Communism (Preface by Salvador de Madariaga) (Foreign Affairs Publishing Co.,(FAPC), Petersham, Surrey, 1964)[7]
  • No Vision Here (Foreword by the Right Honourable Julian Amery, M.P.) (FAPC, Petersham, Surrey, 1966)[8]
  • Brandt and the Destruction of NATO (Petersham, 1973)
  • The Hidden Face of the Labour Party (Petersham, 1978)
  • The Struggle for Freedom (Petersham, 1980)
  • East West Digest - Journal of the Foreign Affairs Circle (Monthly) (FAPC), published throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion 1971 - New Government Edition, 149th issue, Epsom, Surrey, p.514-5
  2. ^ Dod's 1971, p.514.
  3. ^ Dod's, 1971, p.515.
  4. ^ Dod's, 1971, p.543.
  5. ^ Dod's, 1971, p.515.
  6. ^ Dod's, 1971, p.515.
  7. ^ Dod's, 1971, p.515.
  8. ^ Dod's, 1971, p.515.
  • Obituary from the Daily Telegraph (20 March 2004)
  • Robert Copping, The Story of the Monday Club - The First Decade (Current Affairs Information Service (CAIS), London, April 1972)
  • Robert Copping, The Monday Club - Crisis and After (CAIS, London, May 1975)

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
George Brown
Member of Parliament for Belper
18 June 1970 – February 1974
Succeeded by
Roderick MacFarquhar