Royston Smith

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Royston Smith

Member of Parliament
for Southampton Itchen
Assumed office
8 May 2015
Preceded byJohn Denham
Majority31 (0.1%)
Personal details
Born (1964-05-13) 13 May 1964 (age 55)
Political partyConservative
Other political
Referendum Party (in 1997)
WebsiteOfficial website

Royston Matthew Smith,[1] GM (born 13 May 1964) is a British Conservative Party politician. He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Southampton, Itchen at the 2015 general election.[2]


Smith served in the Royal Air Force (RAF) for ten years, flying as a ground and flight engineer in Nimrod maritime patrol aircraft. He subsequently worked for British Airways for 16 years as an aeronautical engineer. Smith owned Bitterne Park Triangle Cycles between 1993–2003 and served as the Chairman of the Triangle Traders’ Association.[2][3] Before serving in Parliament, Smith was running a Public Relations business, alongside his work as a ward councillor.[4]

2011 HMS Astute shooting[edit]

In April 2011, Smith conducted a civic tour of the submarine HMS Astute as leader of Southampton City Council when a sailor ran amok and started shooting, killing an officer. Smith tackled the gunman and brought him down so that he could be restrained and disarmed.[5]

"We were in the control room when someone entered and there was an exchange of words. He [the gunman] stepped out with another man and two shots were fired and then he entered the control room again and began shooting again... He had a magazine with 30 rounds in it so I took the view that someone had to stop him. I pushed him against the wall and we wrestled, then I pushed him into another wall which resulted in him going to the ground and I managed to get the weapon from him and threw it aside under a table. I shouted for someone to help as I held him down and my chief executive was the first to come, and he did a remarkable job of restraining him".

— Royston Smith, BBC interview[5]

For this act of bravery, he was awarded the George Medal by the Queen.[6]

Political career[edit]

Smith joined the Conservative Party after the 1997 general election. He had previously voted for the Referendum Party - a Eurosceptic, single-issue political party that was active in the United Kingdom from 1994 to 1997.[7]

Smith unsuccessfully stood as the Conservative candidate in the Bitterne ward of Southampton City Council in 1999, but was subsequently elected in the Harefield ward in 2000.[8] Smith represented Harefield Ward from 2000-2016, becoming leader of Southampton City Council in 2010, a position he held until his party lost 10 seats and the control of the local authority in 2012.[9]

In November 2011, Smith was stopped by police for not wearing a seat belt and it was also found that the Jaguar vehicle he was driving did not have insurance. He was fined and given six points on his licence.[10]

He unsuccessfully contested Southampton, Itchen at the 2010 general election, being defeated by the incumbent Labour Party candidate John Denham by only 192 votes. Smith was subsequently elected at the 2015 general election with a majority of 2,316 votes.[11] He retained his seat at the 2017 general election by 31 votes.

Smith was faced with claims in 2015 that he helped a rival Party, UKIP in the election by providing information which would help reduce the Labour vote.[12]

Following the deal secured by Prime Minister David Cameron and the announcement of the United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, 2016 Royston Smith endorsed a vote to leave the European Union.[13]

In January 2016, the Labour Party unsuccessfully proposed an amendment in Parliament that would have required private landlords to make their homes "fit for human habitation". According to Parliament's register of interests, Smith was one of 72 Conservative MPs who voted against the amendment who personally derived an income from renting out property. The Conservative Government had responded to the amendment that they believed homes should be fit for human habitation but did not want to pass the new law that would explicitly require it.[14]

On 20 February 2016, Smith was named as the least active of the MPs first elected in 2015 by The Independent, making only five speeches and asking two questions, in contrast to the most active, Louise Haigh, who asked 471 questions and made 90 speeches. Smith defended his record by stating that his constituency is "challenging"[15][16] During his first four months as an MP Smith earned £23,200 in consultancy fees on top of his £60,000 per year salary as an MP.[17]

In December 2017, Smith suggested cyclists should only use roads with cycle lanes on them, stating that cyclists should "consider when and where they cycle" in order to "make the roads safer". The comments came after a 64-year-old cyclist died after colliding with a lorry on Portsmouth Road, Woolston. He was criticised by campaigners on the grounds that "we should be encouraging more people to use the roads, not less", while it was subsequently reported that Smith had recently called for £11.5 million in grant funding for the city's cycling strategy, such as creating new cycle lanes, to be diverted elsewhere.[18][19]

In Parliament, he is a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee, having previously served on the Committees on Arms Export Controls (formerly Quadripartite Committee) and Work and Pensions Committee.[20]


  1. ^ "No. 61230". The London Gazette. 18 May 2015. p. 9122.
  2. ^ a b "Royston Smith, Conservative, Southampton Itchen". Southampton: Daily Echo. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  3. ^ "Bitterne Parker Royston Smith". Retrieved 22 May 2017.
  4. ^ "Bittern Parker: Royston Smith". Community website. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Council boss 'disarmed gunman' on nuclear submarine". BBC News. 8 April 2011.
  6. ^ "George Medals for men who tackled gunman Ryan Donovan". BBC News. 21 November 2012.
  7. ^ HC Deb, 22 January 2018 vol 635 c3WH (Hansard).
  8. ^ "Southampton Council Election Results 1996-2012" (PDF). Plymouth University. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  9. ^ "About Royston". 20 June 2014. Retrieved 29 January 2016.
  10. ^ "Uninsured Southampton council leader Royston Smith fined". BBC News. 23 November 2011. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  11. ^ "Southampton Itchen Parliamentary constituency". Election 2015. BBC News. 8 May 2015. Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Conservative MP Royston Smith campaigning for EU exit". Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  14. ^ "Tories vote down law requiring landlords make their homes fit for human habitation". Independent. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 28 March 2019.
  15. ^ "This is the least active MP of Parliament's new members". 20 February 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2017.
  16. ^ "'Least active MP' defends record". BBC News. 22 February 2016. Retrieved 30 December 2017 – via
  17. ^
  18. ^ "MP calls for cyclists to think twice before using busy roads following fatal crash". Daily Echo. 20 December 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  19. ^ "MP says cyclists should 'stick to cycle lanes' after rider dies in crash with lorry". Cycling Weekly. 21 December 2017. Retrieved 9 July 2018.
  20. ^ "Royston Smith MP". GOV.UK. Retrieved 9 July 2018.

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
John Denham
Member of Parliament
for Southampton Itchen