Lord Smith of Clifton
I have always been interested in politics, both as an activity and a subject of study. I began both simultaneously as at student at the London School of Economics in 1955, where I joined the Liberal Party (when Clement Davies was its leader) and specialised in political science. I became Chairman of the LSE Liberal Society and later Chairman of the Union of Liberal Students, and was a founding member of the New Orbits Group which sought to modernise party policy. I contested the 1959 General Election in West Lewisham, being the youngest candidate of any party that year.
After that, while remaining active in the party serving on various policy sub-committees, I concentrated on an academic career, teaching politics at the Universities of Exeter, Hull, York and California State (USA). I moved to Queen Mary College (later Queen Mary and Westfield College) in 1967 where I was successively lecturer, foundation professor and head of department, faculty dean and deputy principal until 1991 when I was appointed vice-chancellor of the University of Ulster from which I retired in 1999. I also served as chair and president of the Political Studies Association.
Outside of university life, I have pursued a number of interests. I was a board member of the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust Ltd since 1975 and its chair from 1987-1999; I retired in 2007. I was President of the Belfast Civic Trust (1995-99). I developed a strong interest in health policy, having served as vice-chair of the Tower Hamlets Health Authority (1988-91), as a vice-president of the Patients' Association (1988-95) and from 2000 - 02 I was a member of the North Yorkshire Health Authority. I have also been on the boards of the New Statesman, New Society and Gerald Duckworth (publishers).
Knighted for services to higher education in 1996, I became a Liberal Democrat working peer in 1997 and since 2000 have been spokesperson on Northern Ireland in the Lords and on the British-Irish Parliamentary Assembly. In 1999-2000 I served on the Lords Science and Technology sub-committee investigating complementary and alternative medicine and in 2000 was appointed to subcommittee F of the EU Committee which deals with law and institutions. I chaired the Select Committee on Animals in Scientific Procedures (2001-02), was on the Select Committee on the Constitution (2005-08) and currenty sit of the Ad Hoc Select Committee on the Barnett Formula.
I served as Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on Northern Ireland until May 2011.
I am an honorary professor of the University of Ulster and was a visiting professor at York and Portsmouth universities.
Married, with two sons and a daughter, I also have four grandchildren.
Expertise & Interests:
- Retired Vice-Chancellor (University of Ulster)
- Professor of Politics
Corporate Governance and Business Ethics
- Wrote forward to A. Chambers (ed) Corporate Governance, which has so far gone to 4 editors and is the standard work on the subject
Equal Opportunities and Gender Balance