Nicholas Desmond John Smith (born 14 January 1960) has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Blaenau Gwent since the May 2010 election. From 1998 to 2005 he was a councillor in the London Borough of Camden.
Smith became a Labour Party organiser in Wales and later worked around the world as an International Democracy Adviser, for the Democratic Party in the United States, and for the Westminster Foundation for Democracy. His first significant job for the Labour Party was as agent for Frank Dobson in Holborn and St Pancras, and he later acted as agent for Emily Thornberry in her narrow victory in Islington South at the 2005 general election. From 1993 to 1998 he was an officer at the Labour Party's national headquarters, where he was responsible for Labour’s membership drive. In 1998 he was first elected as a councillor of Camden London Borough Council and was re-elected in 2002. In 2003, he was appointed as the Council's Cabinet member for Education, a post which he continued to hold for some months during 2005 while serving as Secretary General of the European Parliamentary Labour Party, in Brussels. From there, he became Campaigns Manager for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and his last full-time job before his arrival in the House of Commons was as Director of Policy and Partnerships at the Royal College of Speech and Language Therapists.
Smith was selected as Labour's prospective parliamentary candidate for Blaenau Gwent in 2007 and was elected as its Member of Parliament on 6 May 2010, defeating the incumbent Independent, Dai Davies.
In one of the strongest showings for Labour in Wales Nick Smith won by more than 10,000 votes on a 61.94 percent turnout. Voter turnout was up by 19.6 percent from the previous election in 2006.
The 20.1 percentage point increase in the Labour share of the vote was higher than in any other seat in Britain. The swing from Independent to Labour was 29.2 per cent, the largest in the UK.
In the 2015 General Election Smith increased his majority to 58% of the share of the vote, gaining 18,380 votes (+5.6%). Blaenau Gwent now has the highest Labour share of the vote in Wales. The July 2017 General Election was almost a replica of the result two years earlier, with Smith taking 58% of the vote and winning 18,787 votes. Speaking after the announcement Smith said: "Today the voters of Blaenau Gwent shared my belief that our best hope to get our country moving again is a Labour government. Blaenau Gwent needs more jobs, improved transport, proper funding for our frontline services and only a Labour government in Westminster can do that. I will continue to stand up for my home borough, to be a strong voice in parliament and to represent the people of these valleys."
Member of Parliament
Blaenau Gwent is a seat with a strong Labour heritage. Aneurin Bevan, the post war Health Minister responsible for creating the National Health Service, and Michael Foot, a former leader of the Labour Party, both held the seat in the second half of the twentieth century. Smith’s campaign formed the subject of a Progress pamphlet entitled "Organising to Win" which highlighted the successful tactics he had used to win back the seat for Labour.
On entering Parliament Smith was elected to the influential Public Accounts Committee, responsible for monitoring value for money in public spending. He has highlighted a number of instances of the Ministry of Defence wasting tax payer’s money, including changes to the requirements of the two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers that added billions of pounds to the cost of the contracts. Since his election, he has highlighted the "pathetic" tax contributions of the likes of Amazon, who paid £2.4m in UK tax in 2012 despite £4.3bn in sales.
He gained early promotion when Douglas Alexander, Shadow Foreign Secretary, appointed him as his Parliamentary Private Secretary and a junior member of Labour’s Foreign Affairs team. In September 2015, Smith was promoted to the Shadow DEFRA team as the Minister for Food, Farming and Rural Affairs. He resigned on 29 June 2016.