By Katie Hind Showbusiness Editor For The Mail On Sunday
Published: 22:17 GMT, 31 October 2020 | Updated: 22:34 GMT, 31 October 2020
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