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JACQUI SMITH QUITS AS HOME SEC

02-06-2009

Redditch MP Jacqui Smith has jumped before she was pushed ahead of a Cabinet reshuffle and indicated that she's going to "resign" after a brief and inglorious reign as Home Secretary. Rarely has a local politician looked more out of her depth on the national stage.

Although she has been most damaged by revelations that her husband used taxpayers' money to watch porno films and allegations that she claimed a second home allowance on the family pad in Worcestershire, these are only part of Smith's legacy.

In fairness, her spells in the Education Department and as Chief Whip were seen as successul, and as Minister for Women she published the government's proposals on civil partnerships between same sex couples, paving the way for "gay marriage". Her openness in admitting that she had once smoked a joint or two even earned her the nickname Jacqui Spliff, and a few new admirers who liked her honesty.

As Home Secretary, though, she pursued some of the most illiberal aspects of the Brown era, pushing a national identity card, scheme, upgraded cannabis from Class C to Class B (against her own advisors' recommendations) and argued for 42-day detention of terrorist suspects (later defeated in the Lords).

There were also plans to create a database logging every phone call, text and email sent by a British citizen.

It came as a surprise to discover that Big Brother not only had a Sister, but she was alive and well, and supporting Villa (but only if she had a bodyguard to look after her down the match).

Oh, and she peed off the police by shamefully reneging on a pay deal.

All that remains is to see whether her wafer thin majority of less than 2,000 can be sustained in a General Election - although our hunch is that Jacqui might just "resign" a few minutes before the result is announced.

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