Page last updated at 08:39 GMT, Sunday, 12 July 2009 09:39 UK

Jacqui Smith 'quit over porn row'

Jacqui Smith
Ms Smith thinks her association with the expenses row will never go away

Former home secretary Jacqui Smith has admitted she quit the cabinet partly because of the expenses row over pornography watched by her husband.

At the time Ms Smith's aides said she was leaving to concentrate on retaining her constituency and "for her family".

But, speaking in the wake of her resignation six weeks ago, she told the Guardian newspaper that the pornography scandal had been a factor.

Ms Smith, MP for Redditch, said: "It's part of the reason I resigned."

She added: "You become a person who is associated with these things."

Describing herself as "the poster girl for the expenses scandal", she continued: "My whole life has been about trying to do the right thing and this is hung around my neck."

I left the Home Office a better place
Jacqui Smith

"Will it ever go away? I don't know if it ever will."

Ms Smith also revealed she had previously argued with her husband and office manager Richard Timney over the morality of watching pornography.

She said: "I would say to him I think porn is wrong because of my feminist background.

"It didn't happen a lot, I was much more angry with him about the fact we had not properly checked the expense claim [which included the explicit films] than about the film."

Ms Smith also said the government had become distracted by the row over the how long terrorist suspects should be held without charge.

'Distorted focus'

Asked if anything gave her sleepless nights, she replied: "42-day detention for terror suspects.

"I'm not sure the effort and political capital and time we used on it was justified even had we been successful in getting it through.

"We spent too long on it and it distorted the focus we had on terrorism."

But the former home secretary insisted she did a good job.

"I left the Home Office a better place in terms of morale, ability to communicate, punch its weight", she added.

Following Ms Smith's resignation in June, she told the BBC World Service's The Interview programme that the pressure on her family had been "horrible" but subsequent revelations about all MPs' expenses showed she had not been "the worst sinner".

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