» Wednesday, December 15, 2004

David Blunkett

In response to the suggestion that there now seemed to be questions surrounding David Blunkett’s state of mind following his singing at the PLP meeting the PMOS said that the Prime Minister still had absolute confidence in the Home Secretary and that if there were a ban on singing we would all be in trouble.

Asked if David Blunkett was holding a press conference on knives today the PMOS said that David Blunkett, as had always been planned, was chairing the Gun Crime Roundtable at 4pm today. Caroline Flint the Minister with responsibility for the knives issues would be issuing a press release. Asked how journalists could find out about the findings of the Gun Crime Roundtable the PMOS said that the Government’s thoughts from that meeting would be contained in the Caroline Flint press release.

Asked if the Prime Minister was at all concerned about the Bob Marshall Andrews’ interview on the Today Programme this morning that suggested the backbenches thought the Home Secretary was unbalanced or had lost touch on a number of issues and only remained because he was a personal friend of the Prime Minister the PMOS said that he would not comment on the views of backbenchers as they were entitled to express their view. The important thing, as the Prime Minister had made clear all along was that David Blunkett got on with the job of Home Secretary, as he was doing, and that the public saw he was getting on with it such as today where the Home Office was dealing with the real issues of knives. In the mean time there was an independent inquiry chaired by an independent figure whose report would be the vehicle by which we could get to the bottom of the visa matter. We should allow him to complete his job. Other people may want to make allegations now but they did so from their own vested interests.

Asked how the Home Secretary could expect to carry out his job under the firestorm of publicity surrounding these allegations the PMOS said that in terms of continuing to do his job he would continue to do so. He was not even sure that the Daily Mail was claiming that their allegations today had advanced the story one bit. Therefore what was important in terms of the substance was that he continued to do the job, which he was doing. In answer to further questions about David Blunkett’s effectiveness as Home Secretary and whatever it was appropriate for him to sing, the PMOS said that no doubt banning Cabinet Ministers from singing may make the country a more tuneful place but all Cabinet Minister’s were entitled to sing. In terms of the serious point of whether the Home Secretary could be seen getting on with his job it was evident today that the Home Secretary’s department was addressing the serious issue of knives and would the public be able to hear what the Home Office was thinking about that issue – the answer to that was yes.

Asked if the Prime Minister, in discussions with the Home Secretary over the last few weeks, was aware that questions surrounding the Austrian visa could surface at a later stage the PMOS said that as usual he would not go into the detail of private discussions between the Prime Minister and the Home Secretary, or any other Minister on any matter. He would simply point out that the Austrian Ambassador had said this morning that this would have been regarded as entirely a routine matter.

Asked if it was right that the Chief Whip had also advised the Prime Minister about the climate of opinion on the Labour back benches in relation to David Blunkett where there was a rising resentment about a perceived double standard where MPs on the backbench were really disciplined hard and where David Blunkett appeared to have special dispensation the PMOS noted that this was drawing him towards party political comment but the Home Secretary had recognised that his remarks were unfortunate and he had apologised to Cabinet colleagues. That apology had been accepted.

Briefing took place at 11:00 | Search for related news


  1. There is more on the singing incident on "Recess Monkey"’s web log:
    <a href="http://bill.verity-networks.com/ext/recess/index.php/2004/12/15/blunkett_s_error_of_judgement">http://bill.verity-networks.com/ext/recess/index.php/2004/12/15/blunkett_s_error_of_judgement</a&gt;

    ‘At a PLP Christmas social this week, 100 Members of Parliament witnessed an extraordinary sight.

    ‘Man of the moment David Blunkett appeared and handed out songsheets to parliamentary colleagues. He then burst into song, backed by bemused silence from his comrades.

    ‘"We are what we are" failed to inspire fellow MPs and Blunkett left shortly after doing his impression of a lead balloon. Also present was the Deputy Prime Minister, who may have made a comment or two.’

    Comment by Chris Lightfoot — 15 Dec 2004 on 6:02 pm | Link
  2. Well, he’s resigned now so hopefully we can all get back to talking about other more important issues.

    The only lingering problem I still have over this situation is that, despite my personal dislike for the bearded bigot, is it right for the Tory press to be able to hound out of office any Labour Minister that they perceive may be winning too many votes from the reactionary sections of the public?

    Comment by Uncarved Block — 15 Dec 2004 on 6:38 pm | Link
  3. Buttons everywhere – I pressed the wrong one and did a "report comment" on Uncarved Block – sorry mate 🙁

    Any way what I was going to say was that if you are high profile in any job there will be people trying to get you out of it.

    David B has been manipulated by Whitehall Mandarins and introduced an Identity Card Scheme that is doomed to fail – that has been my main "beef" about him.

    I’m sorry that he has gone over such silly things as an affair, telling the truth about his colleges and unfortunately documenting the pulling of strings.

    I’m sure that nobody else in the cabinet has influenced the delivery of government services for a friend – NOT 😉

    Oh well I shall now have to learn how to spell Charse Klarck

    Comment by Roger Huffadine — 16 Dec 2004 on 10:06 am | Link
  4. Good riddance, and take your ID cards with you.

    If a shop girl in Woolies had let her friend have a few toffees from the pick n mix counter for free, she’d be sacked and possibly prosecuted. Blunkett used tax payers largesse on his mistress.

    Why should he be treated differently?

    Comment by Guido Fawkes — 16 Dec 2004 on 10:57 am | Link
  5. Hear Hear !!!

    Comment by Red Robbo — 16 Dec 2004 on 1:50 pm | Link

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