John Smith

(1938—1994) politician

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John Smith


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(b. 13 Sept. 1938, d. 12 May 1994).

British Labour leader 1992–4 Born in Dalmally, Strathclyde, and educated at Dunoon Grammar School, and Glasgow University. He was called to the Scottish Bar in 1967, and was elected to parliament for the Labour Party, to represent Lanarkshire North (1970–83) and Monklands East (1983–94). He held junior offices under Harold Wilson from 1975, and entered the Cabinet as Secretary of State for Trade and Industry (1978–9). In opposition, he held a number of portfolios, before becoming Neil Kinnock's Shadow Chancellor in 1987. In this post, he excelled in parliamentary debate, although his shadow budget before the 1992 election did little to improve the party's prospects. He succeeded Kinnock in the leadership and continued his drive to reform the party towards the political centre ground, most critically through ending trade-union power in leadership elections through the introduction of one member, one vote ballots. After his sudden death, he was succeeded by Tony Blair, a radical modernizer devoid of trade-union links.

Subjects: Politics — History.

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