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Jacqui Smith and Charles Clarke shown the door

Being Home Secretary proves unpopular

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Former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith heads the list of high profile Labour casualties this morning.

Meanwhile current party top brass thought to be under threat, such as Ed Balls, have so far been returned by their constituents.

Karen Lumley, Smith's Tory opponent in the Redditch constituency overturned a majority of 1,948 to win by 5,821.

Smith had held the seat since Tony Blair's landslide victory in 1997. Britain's first woman Home Secretary, she quit the cabinet last June after controversies over her expenses - including infamous claims for her husband's pay-per-view pornography - and the classification of cannabis and ecstasy.

Smith's promotion to Home Secretary had been the headline-grabbing appointment of Gordon Brown's first reshuffle in 2007.

Charles Clarke, another former Labour Home Secretary and MP since 2007, was also defeated last night. He lost his Norwich South seat to Liberal Democrat Simon Wright by 310 votes, overturning a majority of 3,653.

Clarke's loss from the Commons is unlikely to be mourned by Gordon Brown. He has been a thorn in the side of the Labour leadership since returning to the back benches, repeatedly calling for Brown to step aside.

More junior ministers and former ministers so far removed include Mike O'Brien, of the Department of Health and Tony McNulty, yet another former Home Office minister, more recently at the Department of Work and Pensions. Like Jacqui Smith, he resigned his brief last year after expenses allegations.

David Blunkett, the Home Secretary who fathered the ID cards scheme, survived in his staunchly Labour Sheffield constituency, despite losing 14.6 per cent of his support.

He appeared on the BBC at 2am to predict outright Conservative victory, which now appears misguided. ®

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