Andrew David Smith (born 1 February 1951[1]) is a British Labour Party politician who was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Oxford East from 1987 until 2017. 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.

Smith retired from the House of Commons at the 2017 general election.[2]

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.[3]

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.

On 19 April 2017, Smith announced that he would not be standing in the 2017 general election.[2]

Personal life

He was married to Valerie Miles, a former Lord Mayor of Oxford, county councillor on Oxfordshire County Council and city councillor on Oxford City Council from 26 March 1976 until her death in 2015.[4] They had a son, Luke. Smith lives in the southeast Oxford council estate of Blackbird Leys.[4][5]


  1. ^ "Democracy Live: Your representatives: Andrew Smith". BBC News. Retrieved 21 November 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Oliver, Andrew (19 April 2017). "Oxford East MP Andrew Smith to retire from politics after almost 30 year". Oxford Mail. Retrieved 19 April 2017. 
  3. ^ "International Parliamentarians for West Papua outline". IPWP. 5 January 2007. Archived from the original on 30 January 2009. Retrieved 2009-01-19. 
  4. ^ a b "Obituary - Val Smith". Oxford Mail. 2015-05-21. Retrieved 2016-04-01. 
  5. ^ Somerville, Hannah (2016-03-31). "Oxford East MP calls for Parliament to be recalled over steel crisis". The Herald. Newsquest. Retrieved 2016-04-01. Andrew Smith, who lives in Blackbird Leys, 

External links

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

Succeeded by
Anneliese Dodds
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