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Andrew Smith (politician)

The Right Honourable
Andrew Smith
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
29 May 2002 – 8 September 2004
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Alistair Darling
Succeeded by Alan Johnson
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
11 October 1999 – 29 May 2002
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Alan Milburn
Succeeded by Paul Boateng
Minister of State for Employment and Disability Rights
In office
2 May 1997 – 11 October 1999
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Eric Forth
Succeeded by Tessa Jowell
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
In office
25 July 1996 – 2 May 1997
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Clare Short
Succeeded by George Young
Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
In office
21 July 1994 – 25 July 1996
Leader Tony Blair
Preceded by Harriet Harman
Succeeded by Alistair Darling
Member of Parliament
for Oxford East
Assumed office
11 June 1987
Preceded by Steven Norris
Majority 15,280 (30.1%)
Personal details
Born (1951-02-01) 1 February 1951
Wokingham, England
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Val Miles (1976–2015)
Alma mater St John's College, Oxford
Website Official website

Andrew David Smith (born 1 February 1951)[1] is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Oxford East since 1987. He served in the Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1999 to 2002 and then as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from 2002 to 2004.


  • Early life 1
  • Parliamentary career 2
  • Personal life 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Early life

He was educated at Reading School and St John's College, Oxford, where he gained a BA and Bachelor of Philosophy. He was the Member Relations Officer for Oxford and Swindon Co-op Society from 1979-87. He became an Oxford City Councillor in 1976, leaving the council in 1987. He contested Oxford East in 1983.

Parliamentary career

Smith has been the Member of Parliament for Oxford East, which he won in 1987 from the Conservative Party. After Labour's victory in the 1997 general election he was made a minister in the Department for Education and Employment. He was Chief Secretary to the Treasury from 1999 to 2002, when he became Secretary of State for Work and Pensions; he resigned from this post on 6 September 2004, to spend more time with his family. He won re-election in his Oxford East seat in the 2005 General Election, but saw his majority slashed by 90%.

He is best remembered by some for his opposing of the privatisation of air traffic control in 1996 stating "Our air is not for sale" only for Labour to switch policies and thereby propose a public-private partnership for the National Air Traffic Services. Others point to his stewardship of the Department for Work and Pensions and his focus on reducing child poverty when Minister there.

Smith is also the Chairman and one of the founding members of the International Parliamentarians for West Papua, launched in October 2008.[2]

Smith has occasionally rebelled against his party in Parliament, on issues such as a third runway at Heathrow, the Government's renewal of Trident, although he has been known to back opposition Liberal Democrat motions on votes concerning the rights of Gurkhas to remain in Britain and the introduction of Single Transferable Vote for elections.

In 2005 the Liberal Democrats came within 963 votes of winning the seat, with the drop in support for Labour widely attributed to the Iraq war, but in 2010 Andrew Smith secured a comfortable victory with a 4.1% swing to Labour, bucking the national trend. Similarly, in 2015 Smith was re-elected with 50% of the vote, an increase of 7.5% over 2010.

In 2015 with minutes to spare before the deadline for nominees ended Smith nominated Jeremy Corbyn for leader of the Labour party despite not actually supporting Corbyn. Smith nominated Corbyn because he wanted a "broad debate" about the direction of the Labour party. Smith was the 35th Labour MP to nominate Corbyn which meant the necessary threshold for Corbyn to be on the ballot paper was reached.

Personal life

He was married to Valerie Miles, a county councillor on Oxfordshire County Council and city councillor on Oxford City Council. from 26 March 1976 until her death in 2015.[3] They had a son, Luke, and Smith lives in the southeast Oxford council estate of Blackbird Leys.


  1. ^ "Democracy Live: Your representatives: Andrew Smith". BBC News. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "International Parliamentarians for West Papua outline". IPWP. 5 January 2007. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  3. ^

External links

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Steven Norris
Member of Parliament
for Oxford East

Political offices
Preceded by
Clare Short
Shadow Secretary of State for Transport
Succeeded by
George Young
Preceded by
Alan Milburn
Chief Secretary to the Treasury
Succeeded by
Paul Boateng
Preceded by
Alistair Darling
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
Succeeded by
Alan Johnson
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