Monday Politics

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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