Jacqui Smith: Media queen?

Hannah ThompsonYouGovLabs and UK Public Opinion Website Editor
March 02, 2011, 12:19 AM GMT+0

The majority of Brits is largely unsympathetic towards the news that former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is hoping to launch a media career, our poll has found. Smith, who was investigated for her part in the MPs expenses scandal, and was accused of claiming for two pornographic films watched by her husband, has recently made a radio documentary about pornography in an apparent bid to begin a media career following the loss of her seat in last year’s election.

  • 56% feel that Jacqui Smith should not be able to launch a career ‘on the back of her involvement in the expenses scandal’
  • One third (33%) say that Smith’s behaviour is acceptable, conceding that ‘she may have an interesting story to tell’, so using her own experiences in a radio show is fine
  • Interestingly, young people appear to object less to Smith’s actions, with just 34% of 18 to 24 year olds actively finding them unacceptable compared to 66% of those over 60.

The feeling towards Smith’s reaction to the expenses debacle is less than conciliatory, however.

  • Just 17% of Brits feel that there ‘is some truth’ in Smith’s claim that her expenses were especially singled out before others’ because she is a woman and, she accuses, ‘[people thought] I should be at home looking after my husband and children’.
  • 72% disagree with her statement and think that ‘the media would have been just as critical over a male MP’s expense claims’

Scandal, suspicion…and pay-per-view

Former MP for Redditch, Smith was the first female Home Secretary but stood down from the position in 2009 following a high-profile investigation into her expenses claims. Despite many MPs facing investigation amid a nationwide media scandal, Smith’s case was one of the most high-profile, especially after it emerged she had claimed for two pay-per-view pornographic films for her husband. Other allegations against her included the registration of her sister’s London house as her main residence despite Smith living mainly in her Redditch home, allowing her to claim over £100,000 in six years. In an interview with the Radio Times, Smith argued that she had been investigated first and with more malice than others because ‘I [am] a woman’.

Smith’s documentary for BBC Radio 5 Live is called Porn Again and will be aired on 3rd March 2011.

See the survey details and full results here (as part of the most recent Sunday Times results)