Elizabeth Smith

(Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill, Elizabeth Bennett)

1940 -

Politician and stateswoman. Raised in Glasgow, Smith educated at Hutchesons' Grammar School and studied modern languages the University of Glasgow. With interests in Russia, she worked in the 1960s for Sir Fitzroy Maclean at the Great Britain - USSR Association set up to foster cultural and trade links. She married Labour politician John Smith in 1967 and after his early death in 1994 threw herself into public service. She was elevated to the peerage as Baroness Smith of Gilmorehill the following year. Her interests in Russia were reflected by her role as Vice-Chair of the UK-Russia group in the British Parliament and as a member of the Advisory Council to the Russo-British Chamber of Commerce. She has also served as a member of the Press Complaints Commission (1995 - 2001); Chairman of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (1995 - 2012); a board member of the Centre for European Reform (1996 - 2003) and the Covent Garden Festival (1997- 2001); President of Scottish Opera (1997 - 2012) and of Birkbeck College, London (1998 - 2003). She also held a series of non-executive directorships with, for example, the Scottish Media Group. Smith was as a Trustee of the British Heart Foundation (1995-98) and the English Speaking Union (1995 - 2001), and continues to serve the John Smith Memorial Trust, which was created to honour her late husband in 1995. She was appointed a Deputy Lieutenant of the City of Edinburgh in 1996 and was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Glasgow in 1998. She lives between Morningside in Edinburgh and London. Her daughter is the political correspondent Sarah Smith (b.1968).

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