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Last Updated: Thursday, 28 June 2007, 12:13 GMT 13:13 UK
First female boss for Home Office
Jacqui Smith
Ms Smith has been promoted rapidly since being elected in 1997
Jacqui Smith has become Britain's first female home secretary, having been appointed as John Reid's replacement.

Her promotion to Gordon Brown's Cabinet comes after a stint as chief whip.

The MP - one of the incoming "Blair babes" pictured with Tony Blair in 1997 - became a junior education minister within two years of gaining her seat.

Her ministerial posts included health, trade and industry and education. As equality minister, she published the proposals for civil partnerships.

At the recently-split Home Office, she will now be responsible for security, counter-terrorism and civil emergencies.

Her predecessor Mr Reid placed prisons and sentencing with the newly formed Ministry of Justice, which is expected to be run by Jack Straw.

She described being "very, very proud and pleased to have the job", as she arrived at the Home Office.

"It's hard to imagine a greater responsibility or honour for somebody elected by the British people to be tasked with that job of protecting our borders, and our communities and our people in order that they can get on with their lives."

New Labour

At the beginning of her Parliamentary career, Ms Smith - a former economics teacher - served on the Commons treasury select committee before joining the Department for Education and Employment as school standards minister.

After the 2001 election she became a minister of state at the Department of Health.

BBC political editor Nick Robinson
She's been key to making peace between the Blair and Brown camps
BBC political editor Nick Robinson

And in the June 2003 reshuffle she became a Department of Trade and Industry minister, and deputy minister for women.

In May 2005, Ms Smith was appointed schools minister.

She was seen as loyal to New Labour - she was one of the most committed of the party's modernisers and even in her time on Redditch Borough Council, she was a strong supporter of Mr Blair.

Born in Malvern, the 44-year-old represents Redditch and is married with two sons.

She is a graduate of Hertford College, Oxford, and prior to her election she was head of economics at Haybridge High School in Hagley.

Interview with the new Home Secretary Jacqui Smith

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