Lord Smith of Finsbury

Lord Smith of Finsbury, Chris Smith, Non-Affiliated; Member of the All Party Parliamentary Intellectual Property Group


Office: House of Lords, London, SW1A 0PW Tel: 020 7219 5119 Email: smithcr@parliament.uk


From 2003 Lord Smith was Director of the Clore Leadership Programme, which aims to help develop a new generation of leaders for the cultural sector in the UK. He stepped down from this position in July 2008, in order to become Chairman of the Environment Agency. Since July 2007 he has also been the Chairman of the Advertising Standards Authority. From 1992 to 2007 he was President of SERA; from 2004 to 2008 he was President of the Ramblers' Association; and in 2004 he was Chairman of the Judges for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction. He was a Member of the Committee on Standards in Public Life from 2001 to 2005. He is also Chairman of the Wordsworth Trust and Chairman of the Donmar Warehouse Theatre. He is a Visiting Professor in Culture and the Creative Industries at the University of the Arts London, and an honorary Fellow of Pembroke College Cambridge. He is also a non-executive Board Member, PPL (Phonographic Performance Ltd: Music Performers' Rights Collecting Society).

Parliamentary Career

He was a Labour Councillor for Islington Borough for five years, and was Chairman of Housing from 1981 to 1983. In 1983 he became MP for Islington South and Finsbury. He served on the Environment Select Committee until 1986, and sponsored a Private Member's Bill, the Environment and Safety Information Act, in 1988. In 1992 he joined the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Environmental Protection, and two years later moved to Heritage, then Social Security and Health. When Labour came to power in 1997 he became Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, and Chairman of the Millennium Commission. He returned to the back benches after the 2001 election, took a prominent role in opposing the war in Iraq, and stood down from the House of Commons in 2005. Immediately afterwards he was created a life peer, taking the title of Lord Smith of Finsbury, and took his seat in the House of Lords in July 2005.


Lord Smith was educated at George Watson's College, Edinburgh, and Pembroke College, Cambridge where he took a double first in English. He was a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard, and completed his Cambridge PhD on Wordsworth and Coleridge in 1979.



Copyright Question 23 January 2012:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the costs and losses for the creative industries of the proposals in the consultation on copyright to (1) introduce an exception for private copying; (2) introduce an exception for official celebrations; and (3) make exceptions override contractual provisions.[HL14842]

Copyright Question 26 September 2011:

To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence was considered in the preparation of Supporting Document EE attached to the Government's response to the Hargreaves report on copyright, Economic Impact of Recommendations; and whether they will publish their evidence.[HL11863]

Protection of Intellectual Property

Creative Industries Debate 3 November 2011:

The second hugely important area in relation to the creative sector is the protection of intellectual property value. This is, after all, where the economic value, the creation of wealth, in these creative sectors comes from. The creator has to be properly remunerated for their talent and skill. I cannot emphasise too strongly how important this is. It is especially important in the digital world where online communication is simultaneously the creator's best friend and potential foe. We need to ensure that value can be properly and legitimately realised and returned to the creator. That is why I urge the Government to press ahead urgently with the implementation of the Digital Economy Act. The Hargreaves report was all very well-Hargreaves got some things right and some things wrong-but we must not forget the Digital Economy Act in the process.
The creative industries add enormously to the wealth of the economy and to the richness of our lives. That needs to be recognised not only in the heart and soul of DCMS-and I know the noble Baroness absolutely understands this-but in the heart and soul of the Secretary of State for Business, the Secretary of State for Education, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and the Prime Minister as well.

He wrote to the Gowers Review asking for term extension