Articles by Jacqui Smith
Jacqui Smith is a former home secretary and writes the Monday Politics column for Progress

Classroom - blue

Being in government matters

Jacqui Smith  |  18 January 2016

I was a teacher for 11 years before I went into parliament in 1997. In Worcestershire, we had the dubious distinction in those Tory years of having the worst nursery education provision in the United Kingdom, which made us the worst in Europe. A Labour government changed that. I was fortunate to teach in one …

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City of London_2

Select committees leading the opposition

Jacqui Smith  |  11 January 2016

For reasons which have been well explored – and to which we will return, the prime minister and leader of the opposition have not had good starts to 2016. But as parliament returns for its first full week in 2016, my tip is to keep an eye on what’s happening in parliament’s select committees. While …

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House of Commons bench

Politics is a team sport

Jacqui Smith  |  23 November 2015

The unsung hero of the shadow frontbench is undoubtedly Rosie Winterton, the chief whip. It was clear from the time that Jeremy Corbyn was elected as leader on a platform of policies at odds with many in the parliamentary Labour party that whipping would be a constant tightrope. As a former chief whip myself, I …

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Trafalgar Square

The meaning of internationalism

Jacqui Smith  |  16 November 2015

What a very grim weekend it has been watching the aftermath of the Paris attacks. I have turned down many requests for interviews as I dislike the need for speculation and anger-driven conclusions which immediate responses require. However, three days on, I offer here a few reflections on Friday’s events. First, my heart goes out …

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Manchester town hall

Innovative ideas in grim times

Jacqui Smith  |  10 November 2015

Opposition is pretty grim – and five years of it does not make it any easier. Our senior parliamentary representatives have to spend their days responding to other people’s ideas and doing their best to mitigate the worst of Tory proposals. Sometimes a timely and effective parliamentary campaign can slow down the worst impact of …

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Bedtime

The bedrock of social justice

Jacqui Smith  |  29 October 2015

Labour rejected the fatalistic assumption that public services could never really deliver higher standards or fairer access, reflects Jacqui Smith Before my election to parliament in 1997, I was a teacher in Tory Worcestershire. My classroom was in a portakabin and a bucket to catch the drips coming through the roof was an important teaching resource. …

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CCTV

It is time to replace the Wilson doctrine

Jacqui Smith  |  19 October 2015

There is a reasonably unusual parliamentary event today for those interested in intelligence and surveillance. In keeping with the subject matter it will be laced with a healthy dose of paranoia and conspiracy theory, I suspect. Shadow leader of the house, Chris Bryant, has successfully persuaded the speaker to hold an emergency debate (under standing …

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Demo Manchester Conservative party conference

Labour must be more than a protest movement

Jacqui Smith  |  5 October 2015

I love a good protest. I have attended loads in my time – I was even introduced to my husband on an anti-apartheid march, so I know much good can come from them. In the 1980s and early 1990s, I also marched for jobs, against student loans, for the miners, against poverty. I have attended …

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The Brighton Centre. Conference

We must involve the people who’ll decide if we win

Jacqui Smith  |  28 September 2015

Good news – the delegates to Labour party conference still understand the power of unity. In turning down the wish of some for a rushed debate on Trident, they have decided in favour of measured policy consideration rather than grandstanding. Perhaps they actually took Jeremy Corbyn’s call for a more inclusive new politics at face …

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By Royal Appointment

Privy to the privy council

Jacqui Smith  |  22 September 2015

Despite some public misgivings, Jeremy Corbyn has followed in the footsteps of other leaders of the opposition and joined the privy council. I suspect he will not be quite as excited about the swearing in ceremony as I was. My enthusiasm in kissing the Queen’s hand resulted in a smacker which echoed around the room. …

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