Jacqui Smith opens up about porn scandal

Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has opened up about the porn scandal which ended her career and has suggested her expenses were scrutinised more because she is a woman.

The former MP - who lost her seat at the last general election - said her expenses were examined first because there was a view that as a woman she should have been devoting more time to looking after her husband and children.

In a new interview with Radio Times, Ms Smith dismissed whispers that it was her eldest son, rather than her husband, who had watched sex films which were claimed on expenses.

Her claims caused a stir two years ago when it emerged that her husband Richard Timney, who also ran her constituency office, had watched pay-per-view movies which had then been subject to a claim for reimbursement.

The furore - compounded with claims over her main residence - led to her resigning as the first female home secretary and taking a back bench position until last May, when she lost her seat.

Smith, who posed for the magazine in a mac while walking around London's Soho which has long had a reputation for its thriving sex shop trade, said it was her gender which led to people targeting her claims.

"(I) know that it was my expenses people looked at first because I was a woman and should have been at home looking after my husband and children," said the mother of two.

She said that she felt "protective" towards her husband because of the contributions he made to the family which she was unable to do.

"I couldn't have done the job without Richard to pick the boys up when they were sick, make them do their homework and piano practice."

Ms Smith will be heard presenting a documentary about pornography for Radio 5 Live next Thursday.

She said it was a "very brave" way to head off the controversy, and hopes it may lead to further opportunities as a broadcaster.

Recalling the claim for porn films, she told Radio Times: "I was more frozen than angry. I just couldn't believe that we - both of us - had put in this claim."

She said she was asked not to resign immediately by the then prime minister Gordon Brown.

Ms Smith said she took responsibility for the claim: "I was the one who did the wrong thing. For claiming it. For not going through the expense form closely enough."

The incident left her husband "devastated", she said. "Really. Deeply affected. By what it did to me and the family."

Asked about rumours that Mr Timney had actually shouldered the blame for her 17-year-old son, Ms Smith said: "It isn't true. That is the thing I hate the most."

And she also countered another suggestion that her husband had been watching gay porn, saying: "I asked him and Richard said 'don't make me laugh'."

:: The full interview is in the new edition of Radio Times, on sale from today.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Experienced Cover Supervisor

£12000 - £14400 per annum: Tradewind Recruitment: Experienced Cover Supervisor...

Recruitment Genius: Trainee Account Manager

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company are proud to be on...

Ashdown Group: Application Support Engineer with SQL skills

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Ashdown Group: Trainee / Graduate Helpdesk Analyst

£20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly reputable business is looking to rec...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project