Owen Smith

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Owen Smith, the Labour Party MP for Pontypridd since 2010, was appointed the shadow secretary of state for Wales in May 2012.[1]

In the 2015 general election, Smith was re-elected with a majority of 8,985. [2]

He now serves as the Shadow work and pensions secretary following Jeremy Corbyn's reshuffle in September 2015. [3]

Labour leadership 2015

Smith is involved in Andy Burnham's campaign to be the Labour Party leader, he will be looking at questions around the future of the UK. Also involved is Michael Dugher, Luciana Berger and Lord Falconer.[4]

Leadership challenger 2016

After Angela Eagle stepped aside on the 19 July 2016, Owen Smith is now the lone challenger to Jeremy Corbyn for the leadership of the Labour Party, and is being tipped as the man to restore unity to the party after the disarray it has descended into since the EU referendum returned a Brexit vote.

But there are some who don't think Smith is all he claims to be. In a story entitled 'The Entirely Fake Owen Smith', journalist Craig Murray dismisses Smith's claims to be the unity candidate of the 'soft left', citing a Guardian article which read 'the former shadow work and pensions secretary plans to pitch himself as the soft-left option' and goes on to state 'For PR professional Smith, political stance is nothing to do with personal belief, it is to do with brand positioning'. Smith is also known to have supported PFI and measures for privatisation of the NHS, as well as Tony Blair's plans for city academies.

Murray also surfaces evidence to show Pfizer (a biopharmaceutical company for whom Smith was formerly chief lobbyist) pushing for NHS privatisation, with Smith himself writing the following in a press release regarding a focus group study: 'We believe that choice is a good thing and that patients and healthcare professionals should be at the heart of developing the agenda.' To get to the crux of what kind of 'choice' Smith was referring to takes further digging, however: 'The focus groups also explored areas of choice that do not yet exist in the UK – most specifically the use of direct payments and the ability to choose to go directly to a specialist without first having to see the GP.'

In his role as head of policy and government relations for the pharmaceutical giant Smith was directly involved in the company's funding of right wing Blairite group Progress, donating a total of £53,000. Progress is known to have fervently pursued PFI and privatisation measures. Smith departed Pfizer to run for Labour while they were in government, illuminating the corrupt relationship between the Blairites and big business interests.

Smith, conversely to Corbyn, is also a staunch defender of trident renewal and, Murray claims, regularly courts the arm industry. He argues that some Labour MP's would genuinely vote for a left-wing alternative if it was on the table, but concludes 'There is no evidence whatsoever that Smith is a left winger. There is every evidence that he is another New Labour unprincipled and immoral careerist, adopting a left wing pose that he thinks will win him votes.' [5]


  1. Pontypridd MP Owen Smith becomes shadow Welsh secretary, BBC News, 15 May 2012.
  2. Owen Smith Express, accessed 19 May 2015
  3. Who's who in Corbyn's Shadow Cabinet BBC News, Accessed 16 September 2015
  4. Labour List Dugher to manage Burnham’s leadership campaign, 16 May 2015, accessed 21 May 2015.
  5. Craig Murray, 'The entirely fake Owen Smith', 14 July 2016, Craig Murray.org, accessed 20 July 2016