Jacqui Lait

Jacqueline Anne Harkness 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).

Jacqui Lait
Shadow Secretary of State for Scotland
In office
14 September 2001 – 10 November 2003
LeaderIain Duncan Smith
Preceded byGeorge Robertson[a]
Succeeded byPeter Duncan
Member of Parliament
for Beckenham
In office
21 November 1997 – 12 April 2010
Preceded byPiers Merchant
Succeeded byBob Stewart
Member of Parliament
for Hastings and Rye
In office
9 April 1992 – 8 April 1997
Preceded byKenneth Warren
Succeeded byMichael Foster
Personal details
Born (1947-12-16) 16 December 1947 (age 72)
Paisley, Renfrewshire, Scotland
Political partyConservative
Spouse(s)Peter Jones
Alma materUniversity of Strathclyde
a. ^ Office vacant from 2 May 1997 to 14 September 2001

Early lifeEdit

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.[citation needed]

Political careerEdit

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.[citation needed]

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 lifeEdit

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. ^ Gammell, Caroline (1 June 2009). "MPs' expenses: Jacqui Lait over-claimed on second home mortgage for three years". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 2 February 2011.
  3. ^ "Expenses scandal MP to stand down". Bromley Times. 21 September 2009.[permanent dead link]
  4. ^ "Long serving leader Peter leaves County Council". www.ryeandbattleobserver.co.uk. Archived from the original on 19 November 2016. Retrieved 18 November 2016.

External linksEdit

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