Nick Smith (British politician)

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Nick Smith MP
Nick Smith (MP, United Kingdom) gives the keynote address at the gender lunch.jpg
Member of Parliament
for Blaenau Gwent
Assumed office
6 May 2010
Preceded by Dai Davies
Majority 12,703 (40.1%)
Camden Borough Councillor
for Kings Cross ward
In office
7 May 1998 – 4 May 2006
Succeeded by Geethika Jayatilaka
Personal details
Born January 1960
Cardiff, Glamorgan, Wales
Political party Labour
Children Two daughters
Residence Nantyglo, Blaenau Gwent
Alma mater Birkbeck, University of London
Portfolio Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Shadow Secretary of State for Foreign & Commonwealth Affairs, Rt Hon Douglas Alexander MP

Nicholas Desmond John Smith (born January 1960[1]) is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Blaenau Gwent since the May 2010 election. From 1998 to 2005 he was a councillor in the London Borough of Camden.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1960 into a family of miners and steel workers, Smith grew up in Tredegar and was educated at its comprehensive school and Birkbeck College, University of London, where he graduated with a MSc in Economic Change.[2][3]


Smith became a Labour Party organiser in Wales and later worked around the world as an International Democracy Adviser, for the Democratic Party in the United States, and for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy.[4] His first significant job for the Labour Party was as agent for Frank Dobson in Holborn and St Pancras, and he later acted as agent for Emily Thornberry in her narrow victory in Islington South at the 2005 general election.[5] From 1993 to 1998 he was an officer at the Labour Party's national headquarters, where he was responsible for Labour’s membership drive. In 1998 he was first elected as a councillor of Camden London Borough Council and was re-elected in 2002. In 2003, he was appointed as the Council's Cabinet member for Education,[6] a post which he continued to hold for some months during 2005 while serving as Secretary General of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, in Brussels. From there, he became Campaigns Manager for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children,[4] and his last full-time job before his arrival in the House of Commons was as Director of Policy and Partnerships at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.[7]

Smith was selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Blaenau Gwent in 2007 and was elected as its Member of Parliament on 6 May 2010, defeating the incumbent Independent, Dai Davies.[8] Davies attacked Smith's record in Camden, calling him a product of "Blairite New Labour", while Smith had responded by calling this "personal mud-slinging" and "playing the man and not the ball".[9]

In one of the strongest showings for Labour in Wales Nick Smith won by more than 10,000 votes on a 61.94 percent turnout. [10] Voter turnout was up by 19.6 percent from the previous election in 2006.[11]

The 20.1 percentage point increase in the Labour share of the vote was higher than in any other seat in Britain. The swing from Independent to Labour was 29.2 per cent, the largest in the UK.

On his election success, Smith commented "The local population and the Blaenau Gwent Labour Party have shared values, and that's come through in this result tonight."[12] He also said he had promised Michael Foot he would return Blaenau Gwent to Labour.[13]

Member of Parliament[edit]

Blaenau Gwent is a seat with a strong Labour heritage. Aneurin Bevan, the post war Health Minister responsible for creating the National Health Service, and Michael Foot, a former leader of the Labour Party, both held the seat in the second half of the twentieth century. Smith’s campaign formed the subject of a Progress pamphlet entitled "Organising to Win" which highlighted the successful tactics he had used to win back the seat for Labour.[14]

Smith made his maiden speech in Parliament on 8 June 2010. He praised the cultural and political heritage of the constituency, and promised to campaign strongly on improving public health, the prospects for young people, and economic growth.[15] As a backbench member, he has led the call for the Government to respond to the collapse of care home provider Southern Cross, bringing the Minister of Health responsible for care services, Paul Burstow, to answer questions before the House, and raising the issue with David Cameron at Prime Minister's Questions.[16]

In 2013 he continued his care home campaigning after the collapse of Operation Jasmine, an £11m seven-year investigation into neglect and abuse in care homes in South Wales.[17] He backed the "Justice for Jasmine" campaign and calls for both a review into the case. He also called for the Care Bill going through parliament to include an amendment that would allow care home owners to be prosecuted for instances of neglect under their care.[18] The Welsh Government announced an Independent Review into the case in December 2013.[19] The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill in 2014 was amended to include laws so staff, managers and directors could face jail sentences for abuse and wilful neglect in their care – with the companies being fined and publicly named for their role in any abuse.[20]

On entering Parliament Smith was elected to the influential Public Accounts Committee, responsible for monitoring value for money in public spending. He has highlighted a number of instances of the Ministry of Defence wasting tax payer’s money, including changes to the requirements of the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers that added billions of pounds to the cost of the contracts.[21] Since his election, he has highlighted the "pathetic" tax contributions of the likes of Amazon, who paid £2.4m in UK tax in 2012 despite £4.3bn in sales.[22]

He gained early promotion when Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, appointed him as his Parliamentary Private Secretary and a junior member of Labour’s Foreign Affairs team.

In 2012 he was elected to the Progress strategy board.

Personal life[edit]

Smith has two daughters and lives in Nantyglo. He is married to fellow Labour MP Jenny Chapman.[2] He previously lived in Camden Town.[23] His hobbies include hiking, watching rugby and cinema.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Democracy Live: Your representatives: Nick Smith". Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b About me at
  3. ^ Nick Smith at
  4. ^ a b Nick Smith at
  5. ^ Kim Janssen, Smith goes to Brussels Education boss ‘Two Jobs Nick’ set to step down in the autumn dated 10 June 2005 at
  6. ^ Nick Smith at
  7. ^ Nick Smith at
  8. ^ Election result 2010 for Blaenau Gwent (BBC)
  9. ^ Ian Caleb, Let’s stop the mud-slinging, says Labour candidate, dated 29 April 2010 at
  10. ^ Think National Vote Local at
  11. ^ ELECTION at
  12. ^ Labour delight over Blaenau Gwent dated 7 May 2010 at
  13. ^ Alison Sanders, ELECTION: Blaenau Gwent returns to Labour fold dated 7 May 2010 at
  14. ^ Organising to Win at
  15. ^ Nick Smith maiden speech at
  16. ^ Nick Smith, End profit before people dated 21 September 2011 at
  17. ^ Emma Mackintosh
  18. ^ Operation Jasmine: MP urges care home abuse law change, [1] at
  19. ^ Operation Jasmine: Review due,[2] at
  20. ^ Group celebrates progress in care home probe,[3] at
  21. ^ Nick Smith, Defence decisions are leaving us at risk in an uncertain world
  22. ^ Amazon UK paid £2.4m tax last year, despite £4bn sales,[4] at
  23. ^ NICHOLAS DESMOND JOHN SMITH at, accessed 21 May 2010

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Dai Davies
Member of Parliament for Blaenau Gwent