Jacqui Smith

Jacqui Smith became Britain’s first female Home Secretary in 2007 – and the first woman to hold one of the highest offices of state who wasn’t called Margaret. Following a successful teaching career, she was elected to Parliament in 1997, became a member of the Treasury Select Committee in 1998 and was appointed a Minister in the Department for Education in 1999. In a ten year Ministerial career, she also served as Minister of State at the Department of Health, as Minister for Industry and the Regions, as Minister for Equality when she was responsible for the Civil Partnerships Act and as Schools Minister (again). Tony Blair appointed her to the Cabinet as Chief Whip in 2006 where she was at the heart of government during the transition from Tony Blair to Gordon Brown. Jacqui left Parliament in 2010 and now works as a consultant and broadcaster.