Jacqui Lait

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Jacqui Lait
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
14 September 2001 – 10 November 2003
Leader Iain Duncan Smith
Preceded by George Robertson[a]
Succeeded by Peter Duncan
Member of Parliament
for Beckenham
In office
21 November 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded by Piers Merchant
Succeeded by Bob Stewart
Member of Parliament
for Hastings and Rye
In office
10 April 1992 – 18 May 1997
Preceded by Kenneth Warren
Succeeded by Michael Foster
Personal details
Born (1947-12-16) 16 December 1947 (age 69)
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Nationality British
Political party Conservative
Spouse(s) Peter Jones
Alma mater University of Strathclyde
a. ^ Office vacant from 2 May 1997 to 14 September 2001

Jacqueline Anne Harkness "Jacqui" Lait (born 16 December 1947) is a British Conservative Party politician and former Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituencies of Hastings and Rye (1992–1997) and Beckenham (1997–2010).

Early life[edit]

Lait was born in Paisley, Renfrewshire, attending Paisley Grammar School and the University of Strathclyde, where she received a bachelor's degree in business management. After graduating, Lait worked in public relations for the jute industry in Dundee later working for the television news agency Visnews. Lait worked for the Government Information Service and later the Department of Employment in 1974. In 1980, Lait joined the Chemical Industries Association as parliamentary adviser. She has also run her own parliamentary consultancy.

Political career[edit]

Lait was a candidate for Strathclyde West for the 1984 European elections and the following year stood in the by-election for Tyne Bridge where she finished in third place behind David Clelland and Rod Kenyon. She was selected as the Conservative candidate for Hastings and Rye in April 1991.

Lait won the Hastings and Rye seat in the 1992 general election and in 1996 became the first female Conservative Whip. She lost her seat at the 1997 general election, following a dispute with local fishermen, but later in the same year was elected MP for Beckenham via a by-election after the resignation of Piers Merchant.

Upon the election of the new Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith in September 2001, Lait was appointed Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland.[1] The position had been vacant since 1997 as the Conservatives had no representation in the UK Parliament from Scottish constituencies. Peter Duncan was elected to a Scottish constituency in the 2001 election and he took over as Shadow Scottish Secretary from Lait in 2003 when she became shadow Home Affairs Minister. A reshuffle after the 2005 general election saw her appointed as shadow Minister for London. Two years later, she was handed the additional duties of shadow Minister for Planning.

She over-claimed for the mortgage interest on her second home, and was ordered to pay back over £7,000.[2]

Lait stood down as an MP at the 2010 general election.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Lait is married to Peter Jones, former leader of East Sussex County Council.[4]


  1. ^ "Tories appoint new Scottish chairman". BBC News. BBC. 14 September 2001. Retrieved 24 March 2017. 
  2. ^ "MPs' expenses: Jacqui Lait over-claimed on second home mortgage for three years". Daily Telegraph. 1 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "Expenses scandal MP to stand down". Bromley Times. 21 September 2009. 
  4. ^ "Long serving leader Peter leaves County Council". www.ryeandbattleobserver.co.uk. Retrieved 2016-11-18. 

External links[edit]

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Kenneth Warren
Member of Parliament for Hastings and Rye
Succeeded by
Michael Jabez Foster
Preceded by
Piers Merchant
Member of Parliament for Beckenham
Succeeded by
Bob Stewart
Preceded by
Vacant from 19972001
George Robertson (1993–97)
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
Succeeded by
Peter Duncan