John Smith Labour Leader

Posted in Scottish Political Figures

Labour leader from 1992 until his death in 1994. He set the stage for the emergence of New Labour in the 1997 election. 

A Scottish lawyer by profession, John Smith was first elected to Parliament as a Labour member in 1970. He quickly made the notice of his leaders, and held several junior ministerial posts from 1974-78, before serving as Secretary of State for Trade.

He succeeded Neil Kinnock as party leader in 1992. A member of Labour's right wing, Smith was unusual for a politician in having hillwalking as a hobby. He played a major role in moderating the party's leftist policies and preparing the ground for a return to government. Following one heart attack, he succumbed to a second one in 1994. He is buried on Iona.