David Blunkett

British politician (born 1947) / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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David Blunkett, Baron Blunkett, PC (born 6 June 1947) is a British Labour Party politician who has been a Member of the House of Lords since 2015, and previously served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough from 1987 to 2015, when he stood down.[3] Blind since birth, and coming from a poor family in one of Sheffield's most deprived districts, he rose to become Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair's Cabinet following Labour's victory in the 1997 general election.

Quick facts: The Right HonourableThe Lord BlunkettPC, Secr...
The Lord Blunkett
Official portrait, 2022
Secretary of State for Work and Pensions
In office
6 May 2005  2 November 2005
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byAlan Johnson
Succeeded byJohn Hutton
Home Secretary
In office
8 June 2001  15 December 2004
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byJack Straw
Succeeded byCharles Clarke
Secretary of State for Education and Employment
In office
2 May 1997  8 June 2001
Prime MinisterTony Blair
Preceded byGillian Shephard
Succeeded byEstelle Morris[1]
Shadow Cabinet offices
Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment[2]
In office
20 October 1994  2 May 1997
LeaderTony Blair
Preceded byAnn Taylor
Succeeded byGillian Shephard
Shadow Secretary of State for Health
In office
18 July 1992  20 October 1994
LeaderJohn Smith
Margaret Beckett (Acting)
Preceded byRobin Cook
Succeeded byMargaret Beckett
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
13 October 2015
Life Peerage
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough
Sheffield Brightside (1987–2010)
In office
11 June 1987  30 March 2015
Preceded byJoan Maynard
Succeeded byHarry Harpham
Leader of the Sheffield City Council
In office
1980  11 June 1987
DeputyAlan Billings
Preceded byGeorge Wilson
Succeeded byClive Betts
Member of the Sheffield City Council
for Southey Green
In office
8 May 1970  1987
Preceded byWinifred Golding
Personal details
Born (1947-06-06) 6 June 1947 (age 76)
Sheffield, England
Political partyLabour
Ruth Mitchell
(m. 1970; div. 1990)

Margaret Williams
(m. 2009)
ChildrenAlastair · Hugh · Andrew · William
Alma materRoyal National College for the Blind, Hereford
University of Sheffield (BA)
Huddersfield Holly Bank College of Education (PGCE)

Following the 2001 general election, he was promoted to Home Secretary, a position he held until 2004, when he resigned following publicity about his personal life.[4] Following the 2005 general election, he was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, though he resigned from that role later that year following media coverage relating to external business interests in the period when he did not hold a cabinet post.[5] The Cabinet Secretary Gus O'Donnell exonerated him from any wrongdoing in his letter of 25 November 2005.[6]

On 20 June 2014, Blunkett announced to his constituency party that he would be standing down from the House of Commons at the next general election in May 2015. The editor of the conservative The Spectator magazine, Fraser Nelson, commented, "He was never under-briefed, and never showed any sign of his disability ... he was one of Labour's very best MPs – and one of the very few people in parliament whose life I would describe as inspirational."[7] Responding to a question from Blunkett on 11 March 2015, Prime Minister David Cameron said: "As a new backbencher, I will never forget coming to this place in 2001 and, in the light of the appalling terrorist attacks that had taken place across the world, seeing the strong leadership he gave on the importance of keeping our country safe. He is a remarkable politician, a remarkable man."[8]

In May 2015, he accepted a professorship in Politics in Practice at the University of Sheffield (in 2014 he was invited to be a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences), and in June 2015 he agreed to become chairman of the Board of the University of Law.[9][10] In addition to his other work with charities, he was also chairman of the David Ross Multi Academy Charitable Trust from June 2015 to January 2017.[11] He is the honorary president of the Association for Citizenship Teaching (ACT).

In August 2015, he was awarded a peerage in the 2015 Dissolution Honours. He was created Baron Blunkett, of Brightside and Hillsborough in the City of Sheffield, on 28 September.[12]