Iain Duncan Smith Biography

(British Politician)

Birthday: April 9, 1954 (Aries)

Born In: Edinburgh, Scotland

British politician Iain Duncan Smith served as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions from May 2010 to March 2016. The son of a Royal Air Force pilot, Smith was trained at HMS Conway and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He later joined the Scots Guards and even served in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia. After joining the Conservative Party in 1981, he served as the Member of Parliament for Chingford and Woodford Green from 1992 to 1997. He has also been the Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security and Defense. In September 2001, he took over as the leader of the Conservative Party and of the Opposition and served till losing a confidence vote in 2003. Throughout his political career, he has also been an active part of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ). As a Work and Pensions Secretary, he brought in Universal Credit, the Single Tier Pension system, and the Work Programme.

Quick Facts

British Celebrities Born In April

Also Known As: George Ian Duncan Smith

Age: 70 Years, 70 Year Old Males


Spouse/Ex-: Betsy Fremantle

father: Wilfrid George Gerald Duncan Smith

mother: Pamela Summers

children: Alicia Cecilia Duncan Smith, Alicia Smith, Edward Smith, Edward St. Alban Duncan Smith, Harry Smith, Henry St. John Duncan Smith, Rosanna Tatiana Duncan Smith, Rosie Smith

Born Country: Scotland

Political Leaders British Men

Notable Alumni: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Founder/Co-Founder: Centre for Social Justice

More Facts

education: Royal Military Academy Sandhurst

Early Life, Education, & Military Career

Iain Duncan Smith was born George Ian Duncan Smith on April 9, 1954, in Edinburgh, Scotland. His father, Wilfrid George Gerald "W. G. G." Duncan Smith, was a Royal Air Force pilot who had served in World War II. His mother, Pamela Summers, was a ballerina.

Initially educated privately, he later attended Bishop Glancey Secondary Modern School, where he continued till age 14. He then joined the merchant navy training school HMS Conway in Anglesey, Wales. At the navy school, he played rugby union.

In 1973, he joined the University for Foreigners of Perugia, Italy. Following this, he joined the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and soon became a member of the Scots Guards.

He served the Scots Guards from 1975 to 1981, joining as a second lieutenant and then moving on to the position of lieutenant in 1977. During his tenure, he was posted in Northern Ireland and Rhodesia (present-day Zimbabwe).

After quitting the army in April 1981, he joined the Regular Army Reserve of Officers. In June 1983, he left the Reserve of Officers.

Following his army life, he worked with GEC Marconi, a defense electronics company, as a sales executive. He even visited the US for work back then. While at GEC, he attended their staff college, Dunchurch College of Management, where he completed six courses.

He then served as a Director of a property company. He later also worked as a director of the publishing company Jane’s Information Group.

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Political Career

In 1981, Iain Duncan Smith joined the Conservative Party. In 1992, he stepped into the House of Commons as an MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, a Conservative suburb of London.

He was soon known for his strong anti-European Union sentiments. He joined a group of Conservative backbench MPs who criticized their party for signing the Maastricht Treaty, thinking it would be followed by other treaty changes that would transform the UK-EU relationship. During this time, he was also a part of a number of Select Committees.

A right-winger on other issues, he argued that the state’s role should be decreased markedly and suggested tax reduction, too. In 1997, after the Conservatives lost power, the new party leader, William Hague, named Smith to his shadow cabinet. Smith initially took over as the Shadow Secretary of State for Social Security, while in 1999, he was named the Shadow Secretary of State for Defense.

After Hague’s resignation following the party’s dismal performance in the 2001 general election, Smith contested for the party leadership. In his campaign, he promised he would always oppose Britain’s entry into the EU’s single currency system. His closest rival was Kenneth Clarke, but Smith won with 61 percent of the total votes.

He thus took over as the Conservative Party leader and thus the Leader of the Opposition on September 13, 2001. However, party members soon started questioning his ability to defeat Labour PM Tony Blair in the upcoming election.

Smith lost a confidence vote in October 2003. On November 6 that year, Michael Howard took over his place as the Conservative Party leader.

In 2004, Iain Duncan Smith launched the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), which was geared toward reducing poverty and social breakdown. The CSJ published many reports, one of the most significant being Breakthrough Britain: Ending the Costs of Social Breakdown, which focused on paths to poverty and a way to administer social justice and to change the lives of the poorest for the better. Much later, in 2013, the CSJ published a paper on modern day slavery, named It Happens Here: Equipping the United Kingdom to Fight Modern Slavery, which led Theresa May to bring in a law on this matter.

Smith was re-elected from the Chingford and Woodford Green constituency in 2005, 2010, and 2015. From 2010 to 2016, he also worked as the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in PM David Cameron’s Conservative-led coalition government

During his tenure as a Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith initiated the most important welfare reform program in modern times and modified the pension systems and employment services and support completely. Some of his most important reforms were the launch of Universal Credit (merging six unemployment and sickness benefits), the Single Tier Pension system (which simplified the State Pension), and the Work Programme.

He also worked to gather private and voluntary sectors to provide jobs to unemployed people. In March 2016, he resigned over a dispute regarding the proposed reduction of disability benefit expenditure by more than £1 billion.

Smith publicly campaigned for the UK’s exit from the EU and took a major role in the Vote Leave campaign just before of the EU referendum on June 23, 2016. Brexit was finally approved in the referendum.

In 2019, Smith worked as a campaign chairman for Boris Johnson’s successful run for the Conservative Party leadership and thus the prime minister. Smith’s political work earned him a knighthood in the 2020 Honours List.

In 2020, Smith helped establish the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China, which was a global group focused on relations with China. In 2021, China sanctioned him and accused him of spreading disinformation about human rights abuse in Xinjiang.

Personal Life

In 1982, Iain Duncan Smith married Elizabeth "Betsy" Wynne Fremantle. Elizabeth was the daughter of the 5th Baron Cottesloe.

They have four children: Rosie, Harry, Edward, and Alicia. Alicia grew up to study at Kingston University and is now a fashion designer.

Smith and his wife live in a country house that is part of his father-in-law’s estate. An avid football lover, he supports both Tottenham Hotspur and Aston Villa.

Smith is Catholic. His personality has gained him the nickname The Quiet Man, while he is also known as IDS.

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