Tom Smith (born November 8, 1942) is an English Social Democrat politician who served as Prime Minister of England from March to May 1990, and Leader of the Social Democratic Party from March to June 1990. He is the shortest serving Prime Minister in English history.
Smith entered Parliament in 1977. He became the protege of James Newton, supporting him in his successful campaign for the SDP leadership in 1980. He was promoted to the shadow cabinet as Shadow Environment Secretary.
When the SDP entered government following the 1982 election Smith entered cabinet as Trade Secretary. After the 1984 election he moved to serve as Industry Secretary, before the two departments were merged in 1985. Following the 1987 election he became Chancellor.
After the stock market crash of 1987 shook the government deeply, and caused England to go into a sharp recession. Newton's calls for deeper cuts in public spending unnerved many within the SDP and the trade union movement, leading to the General Strike of 1988. In February 1990 Newton was challenged for the SDP leadership by Foreign Secretary John Braithwaite, narrowly winning. However Newton interpreted this as a vote of no confidence and subsequently resigned. Smith then ran against Braithwaite for the leadership, defeating him.
Smith's brief premiership was largely dominated by the 1990 general election campaign. After a long and bitter campaign the election resulted in a landslide defeat for the SDP, with many prominent Social Democrats, including Smith himself, losing their seats.
Smith immediately resigned as SDP leader, and retired from active politics. He has since devoted much of his time to charity work.
Tom Smith was born on November 8, 1940 in Bolton, Lancashire.