Smith studied English Literature at York University. Prior to entering Parliament, Smith worked as a Business Consultant for Deloitte UK between 2004-2009. She was also a Parliamentary Assistant to James Clappison, the Shadow Work and Pensions Minister. She had already worked at Westminster, on secondment from her employers to the Conservative implementation unit, drawing up plans for the Conservative Government with CCHQ.
Smith was first elected in 2008, after a by-election was called following resignation of Labour’s Ian Gibson for his role in the parliamentary expenses scandal. She overturned the Labour majority with a swing of 16.5% and a majority of 7,348. At the age of 27, Smith was the youngest serving MP in the House. After less than a year in Parliament, Smith was promoted by former Prime Minister David Cameron to the role of Assistant Government Whip, and was offered the role of Economic Secretary to the Treasury a few months later. However, she was later reshuffled out of the Treasury to be junior Minister for Political and Constitutional Reform at the Cabinet Office in September 2012. She then resigned from the Government ahead of a reshuffle in October 2013. During the Johnson administration, Smith was appointed Minister of State for the Constitution and Devolution in 2020. She then became a Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work in the Department for Work and Pensions during the September 2021 reshuffle.
View on portfolio
Smith is well-equipped for the role, having previously served as Minister of State for Disabled People, Health and Work within DWP. While she faces a challenging in-tray with the pressure of the cost-of-living crisis, she leads a department which has remained relatively scandal-free, thanks to her predecessor, and new Deputy Prime Minister, Thérèse Coffey MP.