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Elaine Smith (Scottish politician)

Elaine Agnes Smith (born 5 May 1963) is a Scottish Labour Party politician. She has served as Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP) for the Central Scotland region since 2016, previously having been the MSP for the Coatbridge and Chryston constituency from 1999 until 2016.

Elaine Smith

Deputy Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament
In office
11 May 2011 – 12 May 2016
Serving with John Scott
Preceded byTrish Godman
Succeeded byLinda Fabiani
Shadow Cabinet positions
Scottish Labour Parliamentary Business Manager
Assumed office
2 September 2019
LeaderRichard Leonard
Preceded byNeil Findlay
Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Eradication of Poverty and Inequality
In office
19 December 2017 – 2 September 2019
LeaderRichard Leonard
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byDavid Stewart
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Central Scotland
(1 of 7 Regional MSPs)
Assumed office
6 May 2016
Member of the Scottish Parliament
for Coatbridge and Chryston
In office
6 May 1999 – 23 March 2016
Preceded byConstituency established
Succeeded byFulton MacGregor
Personal details
Born (1963-05-05) 5 May 1963 (age 56)
Coatbridge, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Political partyScottish Labour Party
Other political
Campaign for Socialism
Spouse(s)Vann Smith
Children1 son
WebsiteElaine Smith MSP official biography

Early life and careerEdit

Smith was born in Coatbridge, Lanarkshire and attended St Patrick's School, a local co-educational Roman Catholic school.[1]

Smith studied Economics and Politics at Glasgow College and then trained as a Modern Studies and Economics teacher at St Andrews College, a Catholic teacher-training institution in Glasgow. She worked as a secondary school teacher before becoming a local government officer, also gaining a Diploma in Public Sector Management.[1]

Smith joined the trade unions Transport and General Workers' Union (TGWU), later Unite the Union, and General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTC).[1]

Political careerEdit

Smith was elected as a Scottish Labour MSP for her local constituency of Coatbridge and Chryston in the 1999 Scottish Parliament election, with a majority of 10,404. She subsequently went on to be returned in 2003, 2007 and 2011, with majorities of 8,571, 4,510 and 2,741 respectively.

On 11 May 2011, Smith was elected to serve as one of two Deputy Presiding Officers of the Scottish Parliament.

In 2013, Smith voiced her opposition to same-sex marriage, claiming that it could lead to polygamy.[2]

Smith supported Jeremy Corbyn during the 2015 UK Labour Party leadership election.[3]

During the 2016 European Union membership referendum, Smith backed Britain leaving the European Union, contrary to the position of the Labour Party.[4]

In the 2016 Scottish Parliament election, Smith lost her seat by 3,779 votes after watching her vote share drop by 17.6%.[5] She gained a list seat as one of seven additional members for the Central Scotland region and was returned for the new session.

Following the retirement of Tricia Marwick in 2016, Smith attempted to be elected Presiding Officer of the Scottish Parliament. However, she was defeated by Ken Macintosh, a fellow Labour MSP and one of the additional members for the West Scotland region.[6]

After standing down as a Deputy Presiding Officer, Smith became a member of the Standards, Procedures and Public Appointments Committee.[7]

In 2017, Smith was appointed to the Scottish Labour Shadow Cabinet by new leader Richard Leonard. She was given the new role of Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Eradication of Poverty and Inequality. Her appointment was controversial because of her record of opposing same-sex marriage.[8] In 2019, she became Scottish Labour Business Manager, replacing Neil Findlay.[9]


  1. ^ a b c "Personal Information". 5 October 2016. Retrieved 2 August 2019.
  2. ^
  3. ^ Alexander, James (13 August 2015). "Jeremy Corbyn prepares for his Scottish tour". The National. Retrieved 16 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Labour MSP breaks ranks to make 'left-wing' case for Brexit". STV News. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  5. ^ "Scotland election 2016: Coatbridge and Chryston". BBC News. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  6. ^ Brooks, Libby (12 May 2016). "Ken Macintosh elected as presiding officer of Scottish parliament". The Guardian. Retrieved 1 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Elaine Smith". 24 October 2018. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Scottish Labour leader shrugs off criticism over equality spokesperson who opposes gay equality". PinkNews - Gay news, reviews and comment from the world's most read lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans news service. 9 January 2018. Retrieved 3 August 2019.
  9. ^ "Scottish Labour reshuffle as Sarah Boyack returns to frontline politics". Retrieved 2 September 2019.

External linksEdit

Scottish Parliament
New constituency Member of the Scottish Parliament for Coatbridge and Chryston
Succeeded by
Fulton MacGregor