So much for scandals… we knew the wrong before we do it, only that there is some pull and enticement… some 'sweet' temptation while in the process of being caught up in the act.. then we are found out!



LONDON — Ms Jacqui Smith, Britain's first female Home Secretary, will stand down in Prime Minister Gordon Brown's Cabinet reshuffle.

The beleaguered minister, who has been at the centre of intense controversy over her expenses claims, apparently told Mr Brown two months ago that she did not want to continue in office.

She is said to have been "hurt" by recent events, which have included the revelation that she inadvertently claimed for two pornographic films watched by her husband and criticism of the way she has designated a house she shares with her sister in London as her main home.

Ms Smith is also said to have bought her husband — employed by her as an assistant — a £240 ($569.70) Apple iPhone on her office expenses. She also billed taxpayers for her accountancy costs and £1,600 for three digital cameras and a camcorder over three years.

The move will pave the way for a radical shake-up of Mr Brown's Cabinet following what is expected to be disastrous local and European election results for Labour this weekend.

With the future of Mr Alistair Darling, the Chancellor, also in doubt, the revelation led to opposition claims that the government was in disarray. But this was denied by Harriet Harman, the leader of the Commons, who told Radio 4's The World at One: "It's not the wheels falling off government."

Ms Smith, who had been widely tipped for the sack, appears to have decided that she would rather resign on her own terms. A source close to her said she had discussed her plans to stand down with the Prime Minister two months ago.

"She's been hurt by what's gone on and it's been a difficult couple of months for her," the source said.

Ms Smith, who was chief whip before her surprise appointment as Home Secretary when Mr Brown became Prime Minister, has had a difficult two years in the post.

The Home Office is a notorious graveyard for political careers. Since 1997 two of her predecessors — Mr David Blunkett and Mr Charles Clarke — have been forced out against their will.

Ms Smith's expenses claims are currently the subject of an investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards. She repaid £10 claimed for the pornographic films, but in other aspects she insisted she has done nothing wrong.

The news broke as three other Labour MPs — Mr David Chaytor, Ms Patricia Hewitt and Ms Beverley Hughes — announced that they would be standing down at the next election. THE DAILY TELEGRAPH,THE GUARDIAN

From; see the source article here.

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