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Jacqueline Jill Smith (born 3 November 1962) is a British broadcaster, political commentator and former Labour Party politician. She was Member of Parliament (MP) for Redditch from 1997 to 2010. She served as Home Secretary from 2007 to 2009 and was the first woman to hold the position. Smith was born and raised in Malvern, Worcestershire. She attended Hertford College, Oxford, before traning to become a teacher at Worcester College of Higher Education and having a career as an economics and business studies teacher. She was elected for Redditch at the 1997 general election. She joined the government in 1999 and served in a series of ministerial positions under Prime Minister Tony Blair. In the 2006 cabinet reshuffle she was promoted to Chief Whip. Following Gordon Brown's appointment as Prime Minister, Smith became the first female Home Secretary. She resigned as Home Secretary in June 2009 following her involvement in the United Kingdom parliamentary expenses scandal in which she had falsely claimed that a room in her sister's house was her main home. Smith, one of the highest profile figures involved in the scandal, then lost her seat as MP for Redditch in the 2010 general election. After leaving the House of Commons, she remained in public life as a political pundit and took up roles in various other sectors, such as health and media. Early life and career Smith was born in Malvern, Worcestershire. She attended Dyson Perrins High School in Malvern. Her parents were teachers, and both Labour councillors, although her mother briefly joined the Social Democratic Party. Her local MP, Conservative backbencher Michael Spicer, recalled in Parliament in 2003 how he had first met her when he addressed the sixth form at The Chase School, where her mother was a teacher; he joked: "So great was my eloquence that she immediately rushed off and joined the Labour Party." Smith won a place to study philosophy, politics and economics at Hertford College, Oxford.After graduating, Smith moved to London and had a spell as a researcher for Labour MP and Chief Secretary to the Treasury Terry Davis.Deciding she wanted a career outside politics, Smith moved out of London and gained a Postgraduate Certificate in Education from Worcester College of Higher Education. Working as a school teacher, she taught economics at Arrow Vale High School in Redditch from 1986 to 1988 and at Worcester Sixth Form College, before becoming head of economics and General National Vocational Qualification co-ordinator at Haybridge High School, Hagley in 1990. During this time Smith held positions in the local Labour party and campaigned on behalf of the party.Smith worked as secretary of the National Organisation of Labour Students and describes herself as having a "feminist background". She served on Redditch Borough Council from 1991 to 1996, where she chaired the development committee. Smith failed to be elected as Labour MP for the safe Conservative seat of Mid Worcestershire in the 1992 general election, despite achieving a 4.9% swing. In early 1997 she was identified by The Independent as a potential future cabinet member. Political career Member of Parliament Smith was selected through an all-women shortlist as the Labour candidate for Redditch, a new constituency created after a boundary review. She won the seat in the 1997 general election, as part of a (then) record number of female MPs elected to the House of Commons who were dubbed "Blair Babes". Smith entered the Government in July 1999, as a Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Education and Employment, working with the Minister for School Standards Estelle Morris. She then became a Minister of State at the Department of Health following the 2001 general election. She was appointed as the government's deputy Minister for Women in 2003, working alongside Secretary of State Patricia Hewitt. In this role she published the government's proposals for civil partnerships, a system designed to offer same-sex couples an opportunity to gain legal recognition for their relationship with an associated set of rights and responsibilities. In the 2005 general election Smith had a majority of just 2,716 (6.7% of the vote), owing to boundary changes. Minister for Schools Following the 2005 general election, Smith was appointed to serve as the Minister of State for Schools in the Department for Education and Skills, replacing Stephen Twigg who had lost his seat. Teacher trade union sources stated that Smith "talked to us on our level". Government Chief Whip In the 2006 cabinet reshuffle Smith was appointed as the government's Chief Whip. In a period when supporters of Gordon Brown were pushing Prime Minister Tony Blair to resign, she was successfully able to calm the situation down. The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson described her as being effective at "making peace between the warring Blair and Brown factions".Smith was regarded as a loyal Blairite during Tony Blair's premiership, a position reflected in her voting record, and she was brought to tears by Blair's farewell appearance in the House of Commons. Home Secretary In Gordon Brown's first cabinet reshuffle on 28 June 2007, Smith expressed interest in becoming Secretary of State for Education, but was appointed Home Secretary. She became the first woman to hold the position and the third woman to hold one of the Great Offices of State, after Margaret Thatcher (Prime Minister) and Margaret Beckett (Foreign Secretary). Just one day into her new job bombs were found in London, and a terrorist attack took place in Glasgow the following day.On 24 January 2008, she announced new powers for the police, including the proposal to permit law enforcement services to hold terrorist suspects or those linked to terrorism for up to 42 days without charging them. In the same month Smith said that she would not feel safe on the streets of London at night. Critics suggested her statements were an admission that the government had failed to tackle crime effectively. Smith also introduced legislation to toughen the prostitution laws of England and Wales, making it a criminal offence to pay for sex with a prostitute controlled by a pimp, with the possibility that anyone caught paying for sex with an illegally trafficked woman could face criminal charges.Smith introduced a crime mapping scheme to allow citizens of England and Wales to access local crime information and how to combat crime. As Home Secretary, she was able to announce that minor crime dropped year-on-year under the Labour government, and continued to do so in 2008.Smith managed to pass the 42-day detention law plans in the House of Commons, despite heavy opposition. The House of Lords voted overwhelmingly against the law, with some of the Lords reportedly characterising it as "fatally flawed, ill-thought-through and unnecessary", stating that "it seeks to further erode fundamental legal and civil rights". In March 2009, Smith p.... Discover the Jill Smith popular books. 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The year is 993 BC. After years of bloody civil war, Eleazar son of Dodai, one of King David’s most elite warriors, wants nothing more than to finally live peacefully in the land. But on t...

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In ancient Israel, at the crossroads of the great trading routes, a man named Benaiah is searching for a fresh start in life. He has joined a band of soldiers led by a warlord named David, s...

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Two novels from Cliff Graham's historical fiction series are now available in one collection!Day of WarIn ancient Israel, at the crossroads of the great trading route...

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Caleb and Joshua Roar to Life in this High-Impact Old Testament SagaTwo men were brave enough to tell the truth about what awaited the Hebrews in Canaan. This is their story. Fro...

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In ancient Israel, at the crossroads of the great trading routes, a man named Benaiah is searching for a fresh start in life. He has joined a band of soldiers led by a warlord named David, s...

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The year is 993 BC. After years of bloody civil war, Eleazar son of Dodai, one of King David’s most elite warriors, wants nothing more than to finally live peacefully in the land. But on t...

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