A MAN from a village near Chester who is the great-grandson of a founder member of The Labour Party has finally joined up at the age of 59.
Higher Kinnerton community councillor Blair Smillie’s great-grandfather Robert Smillie helped form the Scottish Labour Party and Labour Party in the 19th century and went on to serve as an MP.
Having now entered local politics as an Independent councillor, businessman Cllr Smillie has finally followed the family tradition and become a Labour Party member as he approaches his 60th birthday.
“It is funny but whenever I have met people they never asked me if I was actually a member of the party,” he said. “Even when I have been to Parliament people never actually asked me.
“I had always been interested in politics but I had not joined up.
“I am now at the stage where I want to get involved and it opens your eyes to go onto the community council.
“If I was going to contribute to the party I wanted to do more than just having a party card.”
Cllr Smillie, who runs a flooring business in Wilmslow, Cheshire, previously lived in Westminster Park, Chester, before moving to Higher Kinnerton where he was elected as a community councillor last year.
His great-grandfather, a trade unionist, died more than a decade before he was born but he has long taken an interest in his life and was involved in a fictional biography of him, A Labour of Love, written by Torquil Cowan and published in 2011.
Since the book’s publication
Cllr Smillie found interest in his great-grandfather has grown, with his own passion for the Labour Party strengthened.
The foreword was written by renowned Labour politician Dennis Skinner.
Cllr Smillie said: “I am very proud of what my great-grandfather did. He would find things very different today. It is a totally different society to the one he lived in.”