Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 1 October 2014

Voters humble Jacqui Smith out

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has suffered a humiliating defeat, becoming one of Labour's most high-profile casualties

Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has suffered a humiliating defeat, becoming one of Labour's most high-profile casualties in the General Election.

Ms Smith showed no emotion as she forfeited her Redditch seat to Tory rival Karen Lumley, losing the 2,716 majority she won in the last election.

The former "Blair Babe" joined Labour's casualties in the closest-run election in a generation - winning just 13,317 votes compared to Lumley's 19,138.

The Tories needed just a 2.6% swing to win the seat, and Mrs Lumley - who has stood against Ms Smith in the past two elections - today paid tribute to the departing MP as she finally claimed victory.

Ms Smith stayed out of the spotlight until seconds before the declaration when she arrived flanked by her campaign team.

Her ousting came as little surprise after her role in the expenses scandal.

The former school teacher hit the headlines after husband Richard Timney put two pornographic movies on her parliamentary expenses.

He later took responsibility and apologised, but Ms Smith then faced criticism for designating her sister's house in London as her main home rather than her home in Redditch, where she lives with her husband and their two children.

She was found to have broken the rules on expenses, claiming more than £116,000 over six years from her living arrangement. She was ordered to apologise and stood down as Home Secretary in June last year.

Her appointment as Home Secretary in 2007 made her the first woman to hold the position. But as more voters turned out than last election - 63.8% compared to 62.8% in 2005 - the 47-year-old former minister found herself out of a job,

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