Norwich North MP Chloe Smith on why she has stepped down, the lobbying bill and that Paxman interview

Norwich North M.P Chloe Smith meeting apprentices at Eyre, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams Norwich North M.P Chloe Smith meeting apprentices at Eyre, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Monday, October 7, 2013
11:19 AM

Norfolk MP Chloe Smith will return to the backbenches after three years as a minister having stepped down from her cabinet office post.

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The Norwich North MP, who wrote to the prime minister to tender her resignation last month, will give up her role as part of a ministerial reshuffle expected today.

Norwich MP Chloe Smith stands down from cabinet office

Chloe Smiths cabinet office resignation letter in full and David Camerons response

VIDEO: Political row after Norwich North MP Chloe Smiths Newsnight interview

Ms Smith, who won the marginal seat in a by-election at the age of 27 in 2009, subsequently held the seat in the 2010 election.

She said she had made the decision, which will surprise many in Westminster, as she wanted to concentrate on her work in the constituency, her Norwich for Jobs campaign and encourage younger people to get involved in politics.

She said: I am proud to have served my country in this way, but my constituents have always come first for me. They know the high standards and the hard work that I ask of myself as their MP.

Ms Smith has most recently been leading the controversial lobbying bill, which has drawn criticism from a number of charities which warn the proposals could hamper their work.

But Ms Smith denies her decision had been related to the bill, pointing out she has been part of the government for three out of the four years she has been in parliament.

She said: If you look in context at all of the work I have been doing in that role, you will see quite a wide range. The lobbying bill is one of them. I think that bill is the right thing to do. My party is full of very talented people and there will be no shortage of people to take up this role.

In her cabinet office role she was also responsible for a change in the law to allow an eldest female to succeed the throne.

She joined the cabinet office from a high-profile role as economic secretary to the Treasury after she was promoted from the whips office in 2011.

She hit the headlines in 2012 after a tough interview with notoriously difficult interviewer Jeremy Paxman following the chancellors budget U-turn where she was sent in to defend the decision to scrap the 3p rise in fuel duty. Ms Smith dismissed the publicity around the interview, saying: I am really not very bothered about some of the chatter that goes on about certain interviews. Most people have very much better things to do with their time.

She said that during her time at the important Whitehall department she had done some detailed work on decommissioning costs in the oil and gas industry which had helped companies in the region.

She added: I think I can be proud of the work I have done and the service I have given to my country. I think it is right for my constituents to want to spend more time serving Norwich.

She said she wanted to use her experience of being elected to the House of Commons while still in her 20s to communicate with a new generation of younger voters.

She also threw her weight behind her government saying: As an elected Conservative MP the prime minister and my party have my full support as we continue to fix the economy, reward hard work and do the right thing for Britain.

Ms Smith said her proudest achievement had been helping to make 10bn of savings last year, while in the cabinet office.

The MP, who is getting married next month, said the decision had been about her priorities within her work life, which she had set out in her letter to the prime minister.

But she added: That said, everybody knows family is incredibly important and I am deeply grateful to my fianc Sandy for his unwavering support and he obviously fully supports me in that decision. And I am really looking forward to our wedding.

She added: Im not afraid of hard work. I now want to be able to ensure that I concentrate on the most important part of my job which is being the MP for Norwich North.

Paul Wells, chairman of the Norwich Federation said Ms Smith was a tireless advocate for her constituency, and her decision to concentrate even more on this important work was the right one.

45 comments

  • I like Chloe. She defends what she believes in and puts her money where her mouth is. I wish her all the best for the future.

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    Jane

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • I like that - Chloe Smith quits ministerial job to spend more time with her constituents...

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    Richard Woods

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • She'll be out of a job in 2015, along with a large number of her coalition buddies.

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    Greg F

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Ms. Smith was told to enjy a few more years in the long grass. Her latest non communication with stakeholders of the lobbying bill was noted by all, adding to her Newsnight fiasco.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • My understanding is that this resignation is part of a wider campaign co-ordinated by Conservative central office to get local Tory MP's back to the barricades to counter the abysmal performance of the Tory County councillors. Central office do not want to lose the vote like they did last May and will need to secure Norfolk and other counties to secure a return to Westminster. The absence of local MP's at the county hustings was noticeable as they could not defend descisions like the NDR, Joint Core Strategy, Incinerator, RAF Coltishal and other ludricous expenditures whilst cutting £189m from front line services. I look forward to local MP's defending this in a vain and futile attempt to secure re-election. What Norfolk needs is a cohort of strong local Independent MP's who take the concerns of Norfolkians straight to the heart of Westminster rather then the fly by night UKIP absentees.

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    SNUB

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

  • How the truth hurts. Two posts - two removed. All the good it will do them - she'll be gone in 2015 and those who mustn't be named (wink wink Alecto) will have had their revenge.

    Report this comment

    pig in trough

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • I just love it when the party hacks come out of the closet dusting off their tired old clichés, "parachuted in", "good time to start a family" , "halve her vote" etc etc. Wouldn't it be nice to see some original comments and criticism for once?

    Report this comment

    DocOhNo

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Rather an odd decision for someone who was on a career path to the top in politics having been singled out by Cameron. Maybe finding a husband and the possibility of a family has become her latest priority and who can blame her. However, all this talk of wanting to work for her Norwich North constituency obviously didn't quite figure as a priority when she was happy to accept her Cabinet posts.

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    JanieH

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • If one writes to an MP, it is no good that MP just writing to the council with exactly the same complaint, and leaving it at that. People want MP's to actually do something, use the law, to put matters right, not just sit back and cross another letter off their list. It does not matter what so called knowledge an MP might have, if this is not encouraged by some common sense, all is lost.

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    COLD

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

  • Drayton Resident, even Lord Lucan (Keith Simpson) is starting to wake up and smell the coffee! I noticed that he has started to visit parish council meetings just so they remember who their MP is.

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    Marigold

    Wednesday, October 9, 2013

  • Forgive my cynicism. When a MP gives up a lucrative post in the hallowed halls of Westminster and for all intents and purposes her political career for her consituents it is far too noble. Sorry but if we are the uppermost in her mind why did she take the London job in the first place? No Ms Smith it just doesn't ring true. Jumped before shoved, me thinks.

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    norman hall

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Jessica Asato was parachuted in from a left wing London based think tank.We in Norwich North like hard working nice people to represent us Chloe Smith ticks that box.Just watch her get out and about,and very approachable whatever your persuasion..

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    PaulH

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • The decision by Chloe Smith to resign from the Cabinet Office is an astute move on her part, she now has until 2015 to utilise all her energies towards retaining her seat in Norwich North, something I think she will do. Assuming that to be so by the end of the next Parliament she will have been an M.P. for some 11 years, and still only aged 38. It is worth noting that Margaret Thatcher when she was 38 had been an M.P. for only 4years, and she was aged 54 when she became Prime Minister. Will Chloe Smith become Prime Minister? One thing is for sure she has youth on her side, she's a long way off aged 54.

    Report this comment

    Old Timer

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

  • I can't say I did'nt see this coming, hopefully Chloe will be able to find a position for which she is more suited and capable, I hear Iceland are hiring.

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    inactive user

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Why does the EDP get so hysterical at the mention of the putsch against the councillors in Norwich North after the general election? It was reported in your newspaper so it aint exactly a secret.

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    alecto

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Where are all those people who voted for her. Are they really ready for a Labour or UKIP clone to replace her and end up regretting that move eventually. We should be looking for someone with life experience political know how and who identifies and likes people No party hacks to apply

    Report this comment

    No to tory boy

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • She can be voted loveliest person in the world but UKIP are going to halve her vote and Labour's candidate is someone to be taken seriously. Do you not remember the previous candidates? Cringingly awful. And how popular is her party at present? Yet more votes to be lost.

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    alecto

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Say hello to married life and goodbye to parliament Chloe as yours days as a MP are certainly numbered, perhaps this is good time to start a family and get some life experience?

    Report this comment

    Unemployed and Luvin it.

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • And this weeks News starts on a positive note :)

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    che bramley

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Poor intelligence gets found out in the end. Amazed she was given a job anyway. Agree about UKIP its the only way forward.

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    sharky

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Whatever the reason good luck to her. Let's hope that she can keep Labour out in 2015.

    Report this comment

    blue tractor

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • What Harry Redknapp said about the FA this morning applies to the trolls on this website, Clueless!

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    Piranha24

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • She's a politician. So ignore her.

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    el dingo

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • sharky: that young woman is clearly more intelligent than most of the House of Commons all put together

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    Patrick

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

  • More time with her constituents? Now there's a laugh for a start. Try and contact her, it's always been her back room staff, who have done all the work.

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    John L Norton

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • More like walked before she was sacked

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    Derek McDonald

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • The Paxman interview made her a laughing stock. Shame she cannot bring herself to say it was not her finest hour. Such a popular figure.

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    a fine city

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • How does Chloe's responsibility for the lobbying bill square with allowing herself to come under the dangerous influence of the Israel lobby? Why did she permit Conservative Friends of Israel and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs to fund her "fact finding political" trip to Israel and the illegally-Occupied Palestinian territories when it could have been organised by neutrals for a proper objective view of the situation? What did she learn except what Israeli intelligence wanted her to learn?

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    Stuart Littlewood

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • On the telly she says she left with her head held high. That normally means that if she hadn't fled when she did she would have been removed. Mind you not a bad idea to concentrate on her constituency. Jessica Asato is the first sensible candidate that Labour has put forward and many of Chloe's councillors cant stand the sight of her so she has a huge fight to retain the seat and it is arguable who is going to be responsible for her losing it - Labour or her own councillors.

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    alecto

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • all chloe smith was doing was carrying on with the same failed policies as the last labour government . . It will not matter soon because the political landscape will be changed at the next election with ukip tearing the heart out of the three party vote

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    milecross

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Perhaps Chloe could persuade some of her local Tory colleagues to spend some time with their constituents rather than producing "Essential Holiday Reading Lists"? I have never ever seen my MP (if you're wondering it is Keith Simpson) so guess who I am not voting for!

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    Drayton Resident

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Like a lot of politicians she was hungry for power. Because she appeared knowledgeable and was an ideologue she was quickly promoted. Unfortunately, her dismal performance when being interviewed by Jeremy Paxman displayed an ineptitude seldom seen on TV by a serving government minister. One wonders then if it was more a case of go of your own volition or be pushed?

    Report this comment

    Douglas McCoy

    Tuesday, October 8, 2013

  • "her Norwich for Jobs campaign" and yet she voted for the NHS reforms to make hundreds of local people redundant.

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    I LoveNorfolk

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • I'm sorry, "a fine city" please clarify who you're claiming is the "popular figure". Because it certainly isn't Chloe Smith!!

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    dark1988

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • I will accept that Cloe Smith is a very good and hard working constituency MP. I will give her credit there ... well done. However, Labour will undoutably take Norwich North in the next general election and form the next government. In the meantime let's all have a laugh at the talentless rabble that are UKIP.

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    woodgreener

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • I wish Chloe well in her new life with her, very wealthy, Scottish husband. Why waste her life in the vipers nest of politics when she has no need to? I am sure that ladies who lunch, children and enjoying county pursuits will be her life in the future. As for politics, it has already been pointed out that her constituents came last when the ministerial post was offered to her. It is a dead cert that either UKIP or Labour will gain her, and many other, seats in the 2015 elections. I can't wait to see the back of Conman control of Norfolk and, of course, it is all their own fault thanks to the Incinerator, NDR, RAF Coltishall, Officer rule and general incompetence looking after their own ends instead of the public purse! What say you Mr Isaliar?

    Report this comment

    Canary Boy

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Couldn't agree more Alecto.

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    pig in trough

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • I don't normally watch TV, so the Paxman interview on this web-site was the first time I had seen it. In my opinion Chloe Smith proved her real worth, she could not even answer the question if she was incompetent, or not. So much for a modern day MP then.

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    COLD

    Thursday, October 10, 2013

  • Accepted it is likely that UKIP will split the vote and steal a march on both Lab and Con candidates. Why has Labour parachuted such a strong and ambitious candidate, Jess Asbo, into Norwich North to fight Chloe when there are surely easier constituencies to target. Labour is, I think, scared of where Ms Smith is capable of going. Meanwhile I stand by what I have said Jess can skulk back and apologise for abandoning her current constituents in North London and Chloe will be able to ready her nest whilst Sandy earns the bread.

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    George Ezekial

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Another outdated neo-con drone with decades old "nasty" policies. Won't be missed.

    Report this comment

    marty r

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • just what did happen to chloes scheme to get local employers to employ local people first

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    milecross

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Just watched that Paxman interview on YouTube - oh dear!

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    Mr Milliband S'Even-Bigger-Porkpies

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • More likely she was asked to go before getting sacked. Perhaps one or two of her colleagues can take the hint also.

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    MIKEJ

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Chloe Smith has packed a lot into her few years in parliament and she's done the right thing to concentrate on Norwich North; the last thingNorwich needs is a Labour MP.

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    Jack1956

    Monday, October 7, 2013

  • Contrasting picture presented by Esther McVey,who has a smaller majority then Ms Smith.She has been promoted,presumably so she can spend less time with her constituents.

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    Peter Watson

    Monday, October 7, 2013

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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