The man who’s put a spring in Jacqui Smith’s step: Politics lecturer who speaks fluent Russian is former home secretary’s new man after he caught her eye outside a yoga class
She has kept his identity under wraps, but The Mail on Sunday can disclose that her new beau is Dr Graham Timmins, a highly acclaimed international politics lecturer at Birmingham University who speaks fluent Russian
Since the collapse of her 33-year marriage, Jacqui Smith has pirouetted from serious politician to dancefloor diva, thanks to Strictly.
But the BBC show is not the only thing to have reinvigorated the former Labour Home Secretary, as she has revealed a new man in her life, ‘courting’ him – to use her term – via Zoom.
She has kept his identity under wraps, but The Mail on Sunday can disclose that her new beau is Dr Graham Timmins, a highly acclaimed international politics lecturer at Birmingham University who speaks fluent Russian.
He first caught her eye in March, when she spotted him outside a yoga class in her home town of Malvern, Worcestershire, just days before the country went into lockdown. That meant much of their early relationship was conducted via video conferencing.
They discovered a shared hobby in running and are now both members of a club. They have been seen jogging close to their homes, which are less than two miles apart.
After lockdown rules were relaxed, Dr Timmins, a divorced father of two adult daughters, was spotted at the home that Ms Smith shares with her two sons, James and Michael.
The former MP has since moved to London to be in a Covid ‘bubble’ with her Strictly dance partner Anton du Beke.
But it is perhaps their shared love of politics which brought them together just two months after Ms Smith, a passionate Remainer, announced that she had split from her husband Richard Timney.
Catty Craig Revel Horwood laid into Jacqui Smith last night, telling her she looked like she was the ‘last at a party – drunk!’
Awarding her just two points out of ten, the acid-tongued judge lambasted the former Home Secretary and said to her professional dance partner Anton Du Beke that it was a ‘really good idea’ to put her on a swing during the routine rather than to have her dancing.
Fellow judge Shirley Ballas gave her five points, as did Motsi Mabuse, but it left her at the bottom of the leader board for the second week in a row.
Meanwhile, the show’s first same-sex couple, Nicola Adams and Katya Jones, wowed the judges with a ‘street commercial’ routine to the tune Shine by Years and Years. Each of the judges awarded them eight points, taking their total to 24.
But it was EastEnders actress Maisie Smith who was the star of the night, achieving the only nine out ten. Head judge Ms Ballas awarded the nine points to her and Gorka Marquez for their tango to Miley Cyrus’s Midnight Sky.
Dr Timmins, 58, has written numerous times about Brexit and his social-media profile pictures feature the EU flag.
A source close to Ms Smith revealed: ‘She is totally loved-up but keeps telling everyone it is early days. Given Graham’s specialist subject is politics, it is obvious they have a lot in common. They are both really happy. To find love at this age feels incredible for both of them.’
Last week she said of the couple’s first encounter: ‘We crossed on the stairs and I thought, ‘He’s nice.’ ‘
Ms Smith, who last night danced the samba to Tom Jones’s 1968 hit Help Yourself, left office in 2009 after the expenses scandal, when it was revealed that Mr Timney had claimed for two pornographic films. She lost her seat the following year.
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