Constituency: Cymru

Baroness Carmen Smith

I'm Carmen and I'm not your traditional member of the House of Lords.

My journey into politics hasn't been conventional. I grew up on a council estate in Llanfaes, Ynys Môn. The inequalities that I witnessed, and experienced, growing up as a young carer for my late father led me, almost by accident into politics. I understand the everyday struggle that people up and down Wales are facing.

The Lords certainly needs a shaking up. As a young woman from a working class background I hope to bring a much needed different perspective.

About Carmen

Carmen was born in Salisbury and then grew up in Llanfaes, Ynys Môn. She studied locally at Ysgol David Hughes and Coleg Menai.

She then went on to study law at Bangor University after receiving an Entrance Scholarship. When elected as NUS Wales Deputy President in 2016 she left her studies to take on the full-time position. She stood for the role in NUS Wales to campaign on improving the education experience for students who are carers. She successfully influenced national policy change on the topic.

Campaigning experience

Carmen has been campaigning on issues that she is passionate about for almost a decade. This includes campaigning on issues of importance to young people, widening access into education, the right to self-determination, and tackling poverty.

She has played an active role in politics - from her time as NUS Wales Deputy President, to standing as a European Parliament candidate at 23 years of age, and later becoming Chief of Staff in the Welsh Parliament for Plaid Cymru.

But after entering politics at a young age - she has noticed the way that young people, particularly young women, are not represented in our halls of power. Carmen wants to change that.

Appointment to the House of Lords

Plaid Cymru is one of two political parties in the UK that hold a democratic process for appointments to the UKs second chamber. Carmen won the party membership nomination in December 2023.

In February 2024 the Prime Minister's Office confirmed Carmen as the Plaid Cymru Leader’s nomination to the House of Lords. In March 2024 she was officially confirmed as Baroness Smith of Llanfaes and took her seat in the House of Lords.

Why did you want to become a member of the House of Lords?

I do not support an unelected chamber. But while the House of Lords does exist and continues to make laws that impact people in Wales, then we must be in the room and speak up.

When it comes to democracy and how we are governed, we should rip up the playbook and design something much more democratic, open, and modern.

I am a supporter of Welsh Independence and hope to be part of the journey in developing a modern democracy that works for the people of Wales.