Elizabeth Smith was created a peer in 1995 following the death of her husband, Rt Hon John Smith M.P. who was the Leader of the Labour Party at the time of his early death at the age of 55.
It is said that Smith was once approached to join MI6 along with her long time friend from University days Meta Ramsay, who went on to be a career spy. According to the Sunday Times:
- Dorril says that politicians including Dewar, John Smith, Gordon Brown, George Foulkes, George Robertson and Robin Cook were precisely the types the intelligence services longed to see take control of the Labour party and he believes that contemporaries and acquaintances of these leading Scottish Labour figures took active roles in organisations sponsored and endorsed by MI6 and the CIA.
- Elizabeth Smith (John Smith's widow) was approached. So was Margaret "Meta" Ramsay, president of the Scottish National Union of Students between 1959 and 1961, who worked at the Fund for International Student Co-operation (FISC) where the organiser was George Foulkes. "In 1969 the Radical Student Alliance published a pamphlet alleging that FISC was a CIA front," says Dorril. "That was denied, but in 1969 Ramsay joined MI6. She was a specialist in the Scandinavian states.
Baroness Smith is a member of the board of several organisations with interests in Russia and FSU countries. She also has interests in culture and the arts and is the President of Scotland's national opera company, Scottish Opera as well as being Chairman of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Her other positions include being an Advisory Council Member of the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce; Vice Chairman of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Russia; Governor of the English Speaking Union; Board Member of the Centre for European Reform and a Trustee of the Mariinsky Theatre Trust and the 'conflict resolution' organisation LINKS.
She has three children, Sarah, Jane and Catherine.
According to the Parliament Registry
- City Inn Ltd (hotel company), Director
- Chairman, Edinburgh Festival Fringe
- President, Scottish Opera
- Trustee, Mariinsky Theatre Trust (formerly Friends of the KIROV)
- Board Member, Russo-British Chamber of Commerce
- Trustee, John Smith Memorial Trust
- Governor, English Speaking Union
- Trustee, 21st Century Trust
According to the Financial Times, she is:
- a member of the Press Complaints Commission,
- a non-executive director of Morgan Grenfell (Scotland) and
- a member of BP's advisory board for Scotland.
- Sunday Times, June 15, 2003, cited in Sourcewatch
- Parliament Register
- James Buxton, 'Baroness Smith to Hakluyt' PEOPLE ON THE MOVE Financial Times (London), August 11, 1998, Tuesday LONDON EDITION 1, Pg. 10.