Meet Jacqui Smith – Strictly Come Dancing contestant and former Home Secretary

Everything you need to know about the ex Labour politician who'll be joining the Strictly line-up this year.

Strictly Come Dancing 2020 contestant Jacqui Smith

The latest former MP swapping Westminster for the Strictly Come Dancing dance floor is Jacqui Smith.


And she’s loving every minute. That’s according to Smith herself who recently told Good Morning Britain she was “having the time of my life” training for the BBC shiny floor show. However, after recording the first instalment of the series (airing Saturday 17th October), the former Home Secretary added she was already feeling the physical strain.

“The main use of alcohol — as far as I’m concerned at the moment — is rubbing it into my aching feet because my poor old body is taking a battering!” she said.

We’ve seen a few politicians swap the House of Commons for the dance floor over the years – Anne Widdecombe and Ed Balls spring to mind – and the final contestant to be announced for the 2020 edition is a former cabinet minister.

Interestingly, Jacqui Smith revealed the Strictly advice Ed Balls had passed onto her in a recent interview with and other press. “Nobody can ever compete with Ed’s Gangnam Style, but what he said to me was actually, ‘Embrace it and really go for it and try hard,’ and I promise you that is what I’m going to do,” she said.

Smith was the 12th celebrity to be confirmed as part of the Strictly Come Dancing line-up, joining the likes of TV presenter Ranvir Singh, boxer Nicola Adams and BBC Radio 1 DJ Clara Amfo,

Jacqui is a former Home Secretary, having served in the role in Gordon Brown’s Labour government. She served as the Member of Parliament for Redditch for over a decade, from 1997 to 2020. Does she have what it takes to go all the way in Strictly?

Here’s everything you need to know about the contestant.

Who is Jacqui Smith?

Jacqui Smith

Age: 57

Twitter: @Jacqui_Smith1

Job: Former Home Secretary

Partnered with: Anton Du Beke

Jacqui Smith was the Labour MP for Redditch from 1997 until 2010, during which time she served in a number of cabinet posts.

Her most prominent role was as Home Secretary following Gordon Brown’s election as Labour leader, a role which she held from 1007 until 2009, while prior to this she held positions as Chief Whip, Minister for schools and Minister for Industry.

She lost her seat at the 2010 General Election to Conservative candidate Karen Lumley, and has since pursued a number of other projects.

Currently, she co-hosts a politics and current affairs podcast called For The Many on LBC, along with journalist Iain Dale, while she regularly appears as a guest on programmes such as This Week, Sky News’ Press Preview and Good Morning Britain.

What has Jacqui Smith said about Strictly?

Upon the announcement of her participation, Smith said in a statement, “I was speechless with excitement at being asked to join Strictly – and that’s very rare for me.

“Fifty years ago, I got a bronze medal for Scottish Highland Dancing and it feels about time to return to dancing. I couldn’t be in better hands with the Strictly team and I’m going to throw myself into the challenge. Watch out!”


Tweeting the news of the announcement, Smith added: “Well this is all a bit exciting!”

Strictly Come Dancing is set to return to BBC One this Autumn. You can see the full celebrity line up here. To find out what else is on in the mean time, check out our TV Guide.