Home > Categories > Politics and Government > Politicians > David Blunkett's Biography

David Blunkett's Biography

Browse biogs A-Z

David Blunkett was born on 6 June 1947 in Sheffield.

David Blunkett went to Sheffield University and Huddersfield College of Education.

From 1974 to 1979 David Blunkett was a clerk and shop steward at the East Midlands Gas Board (his father had been a Gas Board foreman before he died in a works accident when David was 12).

From 1974 to 1987 Blunkett was an Industrial Tutor at Barnsley College of Technology.

David Blunkett married Ruth Mitchell in 1970 but they split up in 1988. They had three sons, Alastair, Hugh and Andrew.

David Blunkett was leader of Sheffield City Labour Group and Sheffield City Council 1980-1987. In October 1983 he was elected to the NEC's constituency section - the first non-MP since Harold Laski 40 years previously.

In 1987, David Blunkett was elected MP for Sheffield Brightside, becoming Britain's third blind MP (after Henry Fawcett and Ian Fraser).

Neil Kinnock once said that David Blunkett was: "good at skating on thin ice."

When John Smith died, according to Tony Blair by John Rentoul, Blair spoke to Blunkett, who was Labour Party Chairman at the time, and would be responsible for organising the leadership election. Blunkett said to Blair:

"If you decide you want to be leader of the party, you will be leader. But you've got to make up your mind now." To which Blair replied: "Yes, I suppose I have."

When Tony Blair's New Labour got elected, David Blunkett was put in charge of education and employment. In 2001, he was promoted to Home Secretary.

However, in December 2004 Blunkett resigned from his Cabinet post. In his resignation statement he said:

"When the issue of the application for ILR (indefinite leave to remain) for Ms Casalme emerged on November 28, I immediately asked for an inquiry to be set up.

"Sir Alan Budd has undertaken that inquiry over the last two weeks.

"The key issue has always been whether I used my public office for private benefit.

"Since these issues were first raised, I have always given my honest recollection of the facts, on the record as I remembered them.

"At that time and subsequently I said that the issue of Ms Casalme's application was not taken up by my office beyond it being read to me initially.

"These statements have been based on the recollections of myself and the officials in my office at the time.

"Yesterday, Sir Alan Budd told me there had indeed been a fax and an exchange of e-mails between my office and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate - not based on the application form as originally alleged but on the subsequent letter (informing her of a possible 12-month delay) of which I was always aware but did not remember holding a copy. I have no recollection of dealing with this in any way.

"However, whether or not I asked for any action to be taken is irrelevant to the inference that can be drawn.

"Given I have no recollection of issuing instructions to deal with the application, but only to continuing the elimination of the backlog in general, the easy thing would be to hide behind my officials. I will not do such a thing.

"In no way is my office or any individual within the department to blame for what happened.

"I believe these issues would never have been raised had I not decided in September that I could not walk away from my youngest son....

" ..., with enormous regret I have tendered my resignation to the Prime Minister today....

"In particular I want to thank the Prime Minister - my friend and the most outstanding international politician of our age. It has been an honour to serve him and the Labour Government I worked so hard to help create."

It was not long, however, before David Blunkett was back in the Cabinet. After the May 2005 general election, Tony Blair appointed Blunkett as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

However, in November 2005, Blunkett was forced to resign once more, telling Tony Blair his position had become 'untenable', after he had broken the ministerial code of conduct over paid work while he was out of Cabinet.

On a less political note: David Blunkett's guide-dogs have included Ted, Lucy and Sadie.

In 2006, he published The Blunkett Tapes: my life in the bear pit.

In 2008 David Blunkett featured in Channel Five's reality show Banged Up.

Back to Top

Latest User CommentsAdd your comment
Add your comment
To ensure you are a real person and not a computer please enter the following characters shown below: