John Smith

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Person.png John Smith   Companies House History Commons Sourcewatch WikiquoteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
John Smith.jpg
Dalmally, Argyll and Bute, Scotland, UK
Died12 May 1994 (Age 55)
London, England, UK
Cause of death
"Heart attack"
Alma materUniversity of Glasgow
ReligionChurch of Scotland
Children • 3
• including
• Sarah Smith
SpouseElizabeth Bennett
Member ofBilderberg/Steering committee, The Other Club
Victim ofpremature death
UK labour leader who suffered a fatal heart attack

Employment.png UK/Leader of the Opposition Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
18 July 1992 - 12 May 1994
Preceded byNeil Kinnock
Succeeded byMargaret Beckett

Employment.png Leader of the Labour Party

In office
18 July 1992 - 12 May 1994
DeputyMargaret Beckett
Preceded byNeil Kinnock

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry

In office
26 October 1984 - 13 July 1987
Preceded byPeter Shore

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Employment

In office
2 October 1983 - 26 October 1984
Succeeded byJohn Prescott

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Energy

In office
24 November 1982 - 2 October 1983
Preceded byMerlyn Rees

Employment.png Shadow Secretary of State for Trade Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
4 May 1979 - 24 November 1982
Succeeded byPeter Archer

Employment.png Minister of State for the Privy Council Office

In office
8 April 1976 - 11 November 1978

Employment.png Minister of State for Energy

In office
4 December 1975 - 8 April 1976

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Monklands East

In office
18 June 1970 - 12 May 1994

Employment.png Secretary of State for Trade

In office
11 November 1978 - 4 May 1979
Preceded byEdmund Dell
Succeeded byKeith Joseph, John Nott

Employment.png President of the Board of Trade Wikipedia-icon.png

In office
11 November 1978 - 4 May 1979

Employment.png Member of Parliament for Monklands East

In office
18 June 1970 - 12 May 1994

John Smith QC was a UK politician and former Leader of the Labour Party. After Labour leader Neil Kinnock resigned following the Party's surprise loss in the 1992 general election to new Conservative leader John Major, Smith was elected his successor in July 1992. He continued Kinnock's moves to reform Labour, abolishing the trade union block vote at Labour party conferences and replacing it with "one member, one vote" at the 1993 party conference. However, his overall cautious approach to reform, which was dubbed "one more heave", sought to avoid controversy and win the next election by capitalising on the unpopularity of the Conservative government. This frustrated many "modernisers" like Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, for whom his sudden death in May 1994 came at a very convenient time.

He was succeeded as Leader by Tony Blair, who undertook the subsequent re-branding of Labour as New Labour, then winning the 1997 general election.


Smith died on 12 May 1994, the day after attending a gala dinner organised by Julia Hobsbawm and Sarah Brown of Hobsbawm Macaulay Communications.[1] At the time he was a director of the Britain-Russia Centre and the British East-West Centre.[2]

Blair's premonition

In Tony Blair’s memoirs, A Journey (2010), he writes of a premonition of John Smith's death. At the beginning of April 1994, when John Smith was leader of the Labour Party, Blair was staying in a hotel in Paris with his wife Cherie. Blair writes:

I remember waking up the first morning and then waking Cherie. I said to her “If John dies, I will be leader, not Gordon (Brown). And somehow I think this will happen. I just think it will.[3]


Related Quotation

Gareth Williams (politician)“The Labour party has too often lost major figures at the peak of their careers – from Hugh Gaitskell and Tony Crosland to John Smith and Donald Dewar.”Gareth Williams (politician)2013


Events Participated in

Bilderberg/198625 April 198627 April 1986Scotland
Gleneagles Hotel
The 34th Bilderberg, 109 participants
Bilderberg/198912 May 198914 May 1989Spain
La Toja Island
37th Bilderberg meeting, 110 guests
Bilderberg/19916 June 19919 June 1991Germany
Steigenberger Hotel Badischer Hof
The 39th Bilderberg, 114 guests
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