The Baroness Smith of Basildon
Official portrait of Baroness Smith of Basildon 2020 crop 2.jpg
Official portrait, 2020
Leader of the Opposition in the Lords
Shadow Leader of the House of Lords
Assumed office
27 May 2015
Prime MinisterDavid Cameron
Theresa May
Boris Johnson
Party LeaderHarriet Harman (acting)
Jeremy Corbyn
Keir Starmer
Preceded byThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Shadow Deputy Chief Whip in the House of Lords
In office
16 May 2012 – 28 May 2015
Served with The Lord Tunnicliffe
LeaderThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon
Party LeaderEd Miliband
Harriet Harman (acting)
Preceded byThe Lord Tunnicliffe
Succeeded byThe Lord McAvoy
Minister of State for Third Sector
In office
8 June 2009 – 11 May 2010
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byKevin Brennan
Succeeded byNick Hurd
Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister
In office
28 June 2007 – 8 June 2009
Served with Ian Austin
Prime MinisterGordon Brown
Preceded byKeith Hill
Succeeded byAnne Snelgrove
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Fire Services
In office
5 May 2006 – 28 June 2007
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJim Fitzpatrick
Succeeded byParmjit Dhanda
Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Economy of Northern Ireland
In office
14 October 2002 – 5 May 2006
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byBarry Gardiner
Succeeded byMaria Eagle
Assistant Government Whip
In office
12 June 2001 – 14 October 2002
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byDon Touhig
Succeeded byCharlotte Atkins
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
8 July 2010
Life peerage
Member of Parliament
for Basildon
In office
1 May 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byDavid Amess
Succeeded byStephen Metcalfe
Personal details
Born
Angela Evans

(1959-01-07) 7 January 1959 (age 63)
London, England
Political partyLabour Co-op
Spouse(s)Nigel Smith
Alma materLeicester Polytechnic (BA)

Angela Evans Smith, Baroness Smith of Basildon, PC (born 7 January 1959)[1] is a British politician and life peer serving as Leader of the Opposition in the House of Lords since 2015. A member of the Labour and Co-operative parties, she was Member of Parliament (MP) for Basildon from 1997 to 2010.

Smith served in government as an Assistant Whip from 2001 to 2002 and a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State from 2002 to 2007. She became Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, in 2007 and served until her appointment as Minister of State for the Third Sector in 2009. Smith lost her seat to the Conservatives at the 2010 general election, contesting the reformed South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency. She was appointed to the House of Lords shortly after her defeat, where she became Shadow Deputy Chief Whip in 2012 and Shadow Leader in 2015.

Early life

Smith attended Pitsea Junior School and Chalvedon Comprehensive (later Chalvedon School) in Basildon, before reading Public Administration at Leicester Polytechnic, where she graduated as BA. In 1978, she married Nigel Smith, who has written a number of history books for Key Stage 3 and Key Stage 4.

From 1982 to 1983, Smith was a trainee accountant with the London Borough of Newham. She then worked for the League Against Cruel Sports from 1983 to 1995, becoming the head of Political and Public Relations. She was a political researcher from 1995 to 1997.

Smith was a member of Essex County Council from 1989 and a member of the Fire Authority for the County of Essex.[2]

Parliamentary career

House of Commons

Having previously contested Southend West in the 1987 General Election, Smith was selected to stand for election for Labour in Basildon nearly a decade later in December 1995 through an all-women shortlist.[3] She was elected for Basildon at the 1997 general election, replacing the Conservative MP David Amess, who had moved to contest the nearby safer seat of Southend West, which Smith previously fought herself, when Basildon's boundaries were slightly redrawn, aware that his small majority was almost certainly going to be overturned by Labour. She was re-elected comfortably in 2001 and 2005.

In December 1997, Smith introduced the Private Member's Bill to minimise waste generation, and was successful in negotiating its passage through Parliament to become the Waste Minimisation Act 1998.[4]

Smith was appointed a Government Whip in 2001, before being promoted to Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in October 2002. In 2006, she was moved to the Department for Communities and Local Government, with responsibility for Fire Services.

On 28 June 2007, Smith was appointed as a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the new Prime Minister Gordon Brown, entitling her to attend Cabinet. She gave up this role at the reshuffle of June 2009, to enter Government in the Cabinet Office at the rank of Minister of State,[5] when she was sworn of the Privy Council.[6]

The old Basildon seat was abolished in the 2010 general election, and she stood for and lost the contest to the new South Basildon and East Thurrock constituency, which predominantly covered much of the area she represented in Parliament, to the Conservative candidate Stephen Metcalfe. Adverse boundary changes contributed to her defeat, as some of her voters were moved into the new Basildon and Billericay seat, whilst the new South Basildon seat took in strong Conservative wards in East Thurrock. Labour would have possibly held the old Basildon seat, and Smith herself said in a 2011 House of Lords debate: “Prior to my election to the other place in 1997, the constituency boundaries in my constituency were redrawn. For the 2010 election, the constituency boundaries were redrawn again, which may explain why I am in your Lordships' House and not in the other place”.[7]

Expenses

Main article: United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal

In June 2009 Smith had to repay over £1,000 for wrongly claimed Council Tax expenses and service charges for her second property in Elephant and Castle. A review by Sir Thomas Legg uncovered further monies over-claimed by Baroness Smith making a total of £1,429 which she later returned.[8]

House of Lords

Smith at the Lords' dispatch box in 2021
Smith at the Lords' dispatch box in 2021

Smith was created a Life Peer as Baroness Smith of Basildon, of Basildon in the County of Essex, on 7 July 2010,[9] following the 2010 Dissolution Honours List. She was introduced into the House of Lords the next day.[10]

In the Lords, Smith was Labour Spokeswoman for Energy and Climate Change from 2010 to 2013, Northern Ireland from 2011 to 2012 and the Home Office from 2012 to 2015. She also served as Opposition Deputy Whip in the House of Lords from 2012 to 2015. On 27 May 2015, Smith was elected unopposed as Labour's Leader in the Lords, and so joined Harriet Harman's Shadow Cabinet.[11]

In June 2016, Smith and Lords chief whip Lord Bassam stated they would boycott shadow cabinet meetings while Jeremy Corbyn remained leader of the Labour Party, but returned to attending shadow cabinet four months later.[12][13]

In September 2017, she was named at Number 71 in 'The 100 Most Influential People on the Left' by commentator Iain Dale.[14]

Political positions

An active supporter of animal welfare, Smith is a patron of Freedom for Animals, a charity campaigning for an end to the use of animals in circuses, zoos and the exotic pet trade.[15]

References

  1. ^ House of Lords Business — 8 July 2010 UK Parliament
  2. ^ New Fire Minister in Basildon Essex Fire and Rescue Service; Accessed 9 October 2006 Archived 1 October 2006 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Seats with Labour candidates from all-female shortlists". The Independent. 9 January 1996. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  4. ^ Waste Minimisation Act 1998 National Archives
  5. ^ Angela Evans Smith is new Third Sector Minister Third Sector, 8 June 2009
  6. ^ "Angela Smith". Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  7. ^ "Monday 17 January 2011: 17 Jan 2011: House of Lords debates". TheyWorkForYou.
  8. ^ Angela Smith overclaimed nearly £1,500 of expenses Third Sector, 5 February 2010
  9. ^ "No. 59485". The London Gazette. 12 July 2010. p. 13181.
  10. ^ Lords Debates 7 July 2010, c 333 UK Parliament
  11. ^ "Baroness Smith of Basildon". Retrieved 20 June 2016.
  12. ^ "Who's staying and who's going in the shadow cabinet?". BBC News. 28 June 2016. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  13. ^ Edwards, Peter (11 October 2016). "Peers return to shadow Cabinet four months after summer rebellion". LabourList. Retrieved 29 January 2019.
  14. ^ Dale, Iain (25 September 2017). "The 100 Most Influential People On The Left: Iain Dale's 2017 List". LBC. Retrieved 10 November 2017.
  15. ^ "Angela Smith - Baroness Smith of Basildon". www.freedomforanimals.org.uk. Manchester: The Captive Animals' Protection Society (working as Freedom for Animals). Archived from the original on 9 June 2019. Retrieved 9 June 2019.
Parliament of the United Kingdom Preceded byDavid Amess Member of Parliamentfor Basildon 1997–2010 Succeeded byStephen Metcalfe Party political offices Preceded byThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Leader of the Labour Party in the House of Lords 2015–present Incumbent Political offices Preceded byThe Baroness Royall of Blaisdon Shadow Leader of the House of Lords 2015–present Incumbent