Peter Leonard Niall Smith was born in Brighton, Sussex on 10th May 1914 and was educated at Canford school and then at Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge. He left university with a MA honours degree in mathematics and English literature. On leaving Cambridge, he took up teaching, but subsequently joined the staff of the International Peace Campaign. He later became a scientific worker at a firm in Slough and was a member of the union appropriate to his profession, the Association of Scientific Workers. He was married with one son.
In his political life, he was a leading light of the Slough Communist Party from the early 1940s until the late 1950s. His Party work culminated in him standing as the Communist parliamentary candidate at the 1950 general election.
Having moved to Uxbridge on becoming a company sales director in an engineering company, Peter Smith helped found Hillingdon Peace Council. He joined the Labour Party primarily as a result of events in Hungary, but some in the local Communist Party accused him of careerism. Peter soon took a high profile in the local Labour Party, standing for election to the council (he was still standing in the 1980s) and being elected chairman of Uxbridge Labour Party.
Peter Smith took a great interest in educational matters and was a member of London Borough of Hillingdon Education Committee and governor of BishophaltSchool. In his later life, he lived in to Ickenham.