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Is an “assisted places scheme” being planned for Jacqui?

February 2nd, 2009

Will she be given another seat so she can stay an MP?

According to a comment on an earlier thread there are suggestions that Labour is trying to ensure that the Home Secretary, the Oxford-educated Jacqui Smith, is not thrown out of the commons at the next election.

Of the leading cabinet members Jacqui’s seat at Redditch has the thinnest majority and stands to be lost with a swing of just 2.3%. This makes it Tory target number 41 and it’s hard to see the party holding on unless there is a dramatic turnaround in Labour’s fortunes.

Ian Stewart posted this morning: “..having been in the West Midlands over the weekend, the word was that Jacqui Smith won’t be standing in Redditch next time…….a safer seat in Wolverhampton has been identified. So those betting on a Con victory in Redditch, your investment looks even more secure.”

There seem to be Labour candidates or incumbents in place for all the Wolverhampton seats – so someone would have to be persuaded to stand aside.

The only problem with such a manoeuvre is that it stinks and Labour’s own rules prevent it. But rules did not prevent Ken Livingstone switching back from being an Independent to Labour candidate for the London Mayor in 2001 even though another person was in place.

Smith’s precarious constituency situation has meant that she’s been very much of an outsider in a number of Labour and related markets. Ten days ago she was an attractive 200/1 in the Ladbrokes “Who’ll be PM on December 31” betting. That tightened to 100/1 and during today this has moved to 50/1.

In the Brown replacement betting Smith has moved to 25/1.

Is it going to happen? Who knows but Labour is hardly bursting with front bench talent and finding a way to keep Smith involved seems sensible. And if she’s still going to be an MP then maybe, just maybe, she could be in the running.

  • Marf’s cartoon was first used in early December. You can see more of her work at LondonSketchbook.com





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