Monday Politics

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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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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Usdaw, trade union

The trade union bill is a partisan onslaught

Jacqui Smith  |  14 September 2015

I have just returned from one of my regular trips to Jordan where I am working on a political development project. Nothing much happened while I was away did it? In Jordan we hosted a well-attended meeting of all the political parties to talk about building membership and campaigns amongst other things. We covered the …

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hustings pac15 1

Let’s bin the pledges for a while

Jacqui Smith  |  18 May 2015

I am beginning to think it is time to bin my pledge card. Like John Prescott, I still have the 1997 pledge card which I handed out in thousands in our 1997 campaign. To remind you, the pledges were: We will cut class sizes to 30 or under for five, six and seven year olds …

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Election count; ballot papers.

We need to listen to both winning and losing candidates

Jacqui Smith  |  11 May 2015

I joined the Labour party in late 1979 and had to wait another 18 years until we were in government. And I lost my seat in 2010 so I know what it is like to be on the rough end of our democratic system. I frankly have not got time now to wait another 13 …

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