Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, the highest ranked women in British politics, has received the support of Prime Minister Gordon Brown over what one wag on the Guardian’s website termed the ‘mastergate’ affair.
It emerged at the end of March that she had ‘mistakenly’ claimed on her parliamentary expenses for the cost of two pay-per-view softcore adult films, purchased by her husband in April 2008.
Gordon Brown said at a Downing Street press conference that it was a “personal matter” for the Home Secretary, and although the Conservative opposition said the affair was not a resignation issue, Labour backbencher Paul Flynn disagreed, stating that her authority had been “badly damaged”.
The films cost £5 each.
Unveiling a shake-up of existing vice laws intended to tackle men who use prostitutes back in November 2008, Home Secretary Smith memorably said at the time: “There will be no more excuses for those who pay for sex.”
To further compound the Home Secretary’s embarrassment, the Daily Mail’s April Fool story featured a Photoshop image of her leaving an Ann Summers outlet under the headline ‘Oh Jacqui, surely that can’t be you?’.