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Julian Smith (politician)

Julian Richard Smith CBE PC (born 30 August 1971) is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Northern Ireland since 2019. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been the Member of Parliament (MP) for Skipton and Ripon since 2010.

Julian Smith

Official portrait of Julian Smith crop 2.jpg
Secretary of State for Northern Ireland
Assumed office
24 July 2019
Prime MinisterBoris Johnson
Preceded byKaren Bradley
Chief Whip of the House of Commons
Parliamentary Secretary to the Treasury
In office
2 November 2017 – 24 July 2019
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byGavin Williamson
Succeeded byMark Spencer
Deputy Chief Government Whip
Treasurer of the Household
In office
13 June 2017 – 2 November 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byAnne Milton
Succeeded byEsther McVey
Vice-Chamberlain of the Household
In office
17 July 2016 – 13 June 2017
Prime MinisterTheresa May
Preceded byKris Hopkins
Succeeded byChris Heaton-Harris
Member of Parliament
for Skipton and Ripon
In office
6 May 2010 – 6 November 2019
Preceded byDavid Curry
Succeeded byElection in progress
Majority19,985 (34.4%)
Personal details
Born (1971-08-30) 30 August 1971 (age 48)
Stirling, Stirlingshire, Scotland
Political partyConservative
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham
WebsiteOfficial website

In 2010, Smith was elected as MP with 27,685 votes (50.6% of the votes cast), giving him a majority of 9,950 votes.[1][2] Smith retained the seat in 2015 and in 2017. He was appointed Chief Whip of the House of Commons by Prime Minister Theresa May in November 2017 until July 2019.

Early lifeEdit

Smith was born in the city of Stirling[3] in Scotland on 30 August 1971.[4] He was educated at Balfron High School, a comprehensive school, followed by a sixth form bursary to Millfield School, an independent school in South West England, and the University of Birmingham, where he read English and History.[3]

Parliamentary careerEdit

Smith was elected as MP for Skipton and Ripon in 2010 with a majority of 9,950, and was returned to the House of Commons in 2015 with an increased majority of 20,761. In Parliament, he served on the Scottish Affairs Committee for a brief period in 2010[5] and was Parliamentary Private Secretary to Sir Alan Duncan MP, Minister of State for International Development, from September 2010 to 2012. Smith was subsequently Parliamentary Private Secretary to Justine Greening MP, Secretary of State for International Development, from 2012 to May 2015. After the 2015 General Election, Smith was appointed an Assistant Government Whip in David Cameron's Second Ministry.[6]

Following the European Union membership referendum on 23 June and David Cameron's resignation as Prime Minister, Smith was one of six MPs who led the leadership campaign on behalf of the Home Secretary, Theresa May.[7] After May became Prime Minister on 13 July 2016, four days later Smith was appointed Vice-Chamberlain of the Household, a senior position within the Government Whips' Office.[8] He served as Deputy Chief Whip to Gavin Williamson from June 2017 to November 2017 and then, on 2 November 2017, he was appointed Chief Whip of the House of Commons.

He was then made Secretary of State for Northern Ireland when Boris Johnson assumed the role as Prime Minister.

Smith was strongly critical of Theresa May's cabinet's behaviour after the 2017 election, saying the government should have made clear that it would "inevitably" have to accept a softer Brexit. He accused ministers of trying to destabilise and undermine May.[9]


In October 2013 The Guardian alleged that Smith may have breached national security by posting an image on his website of himself alongside military personnel.[10] Smith had previously asked questions in Parliament about whether The Guardian's handling of intelligence material leaked by Edward Snowden had breached national security. He reported the newspaper to the police.[10] Smith argued the newspaper should be investigated as it had "endangered" British security personnel by publishing leaked information.[11]

Pairing allegationsEdit

On 19 July 2018, Smith was reported to be resisting calls to resign his position as Government Chief Whip, following allegations that he had instructed five Conservative MPs to break "pairing" agreements in an important parliamentary vote the previous day. Only one MP, Conservative party chairman Brandon Lewis, complied with the instruction. Subsequent reports indicated that Smith had given similar instructions to five MPs, but Lewis had been the only one willing to break what one commentator described later as "a centuries old ‘code of honour’". Before it became known that the affair had involved approaches by Smith to more than one MP, the Prime Minister Theresa May backed Lewis by stating that "The breaking of the pair was done in error. It wasn't good enough and will not be repeated."[12]


  1. ^ "No. 59418". The London Gazette. 13 May 2010. p. 8744.
  2. ^ "Skipton and Ripon". BBC. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
  3. ^ a b Julian Smith: Biography Publisher: Retrieved: 14 March 2013.
  4. ^ "Julian Smith". Who's Who. Retrieved 3 June 2011.
  5. ^ "Julian Smith". Parliament UK. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  6. ^ "Her Majesty's Government". Gov.UK. Retrieved 13 May 2015.
  7. ^ "Interview: Chief Whip Gavin Williamson MP on his factory worker beginnings and recent promotion « Express & Star". Retrieved 19 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Skipton MP Julian Smith given key promotion in the Government of new Prime Minister Theresa May". Craven Herald & Pioneer. 17 July 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  9. ^ "Chief whip attacks cabinet's Brexit strategy". 1 April 2019. Retrieved 1 April 2019.
  10. ^ a b "Did Conservative MP Julian Smith endanger national security?". Guardian. 25 October 2013. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  11. ^ Smith, Julian (22 October 2013). "Julian Smith MP: The Guardian's impact on national security". Politics Home. Archived from the original on 15 April 2015. Retrieved 7 April 2015.
  12. ^ Joe Murphy; Nicholas Cecil (19 July 2018). "Tory chief whip Julian Smith urged to quit over pairing deal 'error'". Evening Standard, London. Retrieved 19 July 2018.

External linksEdit