Jacqui Smith faces prisoner house painting investigation

Jacqui Smith lost her seat at the 2010 general election
Jacqui Smith lost her seat at the 2010 general election

By Phil Scullion

Jacqui Smith has hit headlines once again after revelations that two prisoners on day-release spent time painting her house.

An investigation into the matter has been launched by HMP Hewell prison service.

The two were supposed to be working in the community, doing work which would "help the whole community" said a spokesman from HMP Hewell.

However instead they decorated a room at Ms Smith's home in Redditch.

The former Labour home secretary made a contribution to the local charity, Batchley Support Group, which was running the scheme for prisoners to give something back to their community.

The HMP Hewell spokesman continued: "The decision to provide prisoners for this work was taken without consultation with HMP Hewell or the Ministry of Justice and was a mistake.

"Offenders should work on projects which help the whole community. The scheme has been suspended while a full internal investigation is undertaken."

However Ms Smith has defended her conduct, saying that she thought the two offenders were supposed to be gaining work experience.

She added: "I understand that prisoners go to Batchley support group to gain work experience and do a range of jobs in the Batchley area where our house is.

"As part of this project, two people did about three hours' work in our house on one day for which we made a donation to the Batchley support group."

However it is not clear how much Ms Smith donated for the work carried out at her home.

The former home secretary is no stranger to controversy over her use of public money.

She was forced to apologise over her expenses claims, particularly the £116,000 she received by allotting her main residence in her constituency, Redditch, as a second home.

Her husband's decision to pay for a pornographic film from the public purse also caused significant embarrassment and she lost her seat at the 2010 general election.


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