Labour MP David Blunkett to stand down after general election

David Blunkett served as education secretary, home secretary and work and pension secretary

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Former home secretary David Blunkett has announced he will stand down as a Labour MP at the next general election.

Mr Blunkett, who has been the MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough since 1987, said the Labour leadership would want "new faces" in the party.

He vowed to support leader Ed Miliband, but told the BBC the party could be in opposition for 15 years if it did not win next year's general election.

Mr Miliband said Mr Blunkett, 67, had been an "amazing asset" to the party.

He said the former cabinet minister had been "a friend to me during my time as leader" and would be "hugely missed".

"I have valued and counted on his advice and wisdom. Every Labour leader under whom he served would have said the same. He is Labour through and through."

'Clear break'

Mr Blunkett told local party members that "there does come a time when a fresh approach and the energy that goes with it outweigh other considerations".

He said: "I believe that for the party and for the constituency, as well as for me personally, that moment has come."

Mr Blunkett said standing down from parliament had been "by far the most difficult political decision I have ever made, in a lifetime of extremely difficult decisions".

David Blunkett in 1988 Mr Blunkett - who was the youngest ever leader of Sheffield City Council - was elected to parliament in 1987
David Blunkett with Gordon Brown He became education secretary in 1997, serving in the cabinet alongside future the prime minister, Gordon Brown
Tony Blair and David Blunkett at the Labour Party conference in Bournemouth 2003. He went on to become home secretary as part of Tony Blair's Labour government

Mr Blunkett, who served as education secretary, home secretary and work and pension secretary under former prime minister Tony Blair, said the Labour leadership wanted to make a "clear break with the past".

But he vowed to continue to make a contribution to "public service and the social and voluntary sector".

Mr Blunkett said he had been "privileged to be able to lead on ground-breaking policies" in education and the security of the nation after the 9/11 terror attacks in the United States in 2001, when he was home secretary.

Resignations

He became the youngest ever leader of Sheffield City Council in 1980, before he was elected as an MP and was later appointed as education secretary in 1997, following the landslide election victory for New Labour.

However, he resigned from cabinet posts twice - the first time in 2004 as home secretary after a visa application for ex-lover Kimberly Quinn's nanny was fast-tracked.

An official inquiry found a "chain of events" linking Mr Blunkett's office to the speeding up of a visa application.

Less than 12 months later he stepped down as work and pensions secretary, following a row over his business interests.

One of Mr Blunkett's biggest challenges as home secretary was dealing with the aftermath of the 11 September 2001 attacks on the US.

The MP, who was born blind, has said one of his greatest successes has been breaking down barriers for people with disabilities.

He becomes the latest former Labour cabinet minister to announce his decision to stand down in 2015, including his predecessor as home secretary, Jack Straw, and former Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain.

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  55.  
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  62.  
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  63.  
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  64.  
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  66.  
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  67.  
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  68.  
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  70.  
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  71.  
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  72.  
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  73.  
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  74.  
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  75.  
    12:07: Promises kept

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  76.  
    12:06: Pic: Miliband waves migration pledge
    Ed Miliband
     
  77.  
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  78.  
    12:06: Cameron hits back

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  79.  
    12:04: Miliband on immigration

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  80.  
    @Markfergusonuk Mark Ferguson, Labour List

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  81.  
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  82.  
    12:02: Pic: David Cameron
    David Cameron
     
  83.  
    @Mike_Fabricant Michael Fabricant, Tory MP

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  84.  
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    Guardian commentator Nick Watt offers his predictions on Ed Miliband's line of questioning at this week's PMQs. He thinks the Labour leader would be on more comfortable ground if he goes on David Cameron's "failure" to meet the net migration target, rather than this morning's IFS report on household incomes.

     
  85.  
    11:59: Pic: Cameron in the House
    David Cameron
     
  86.  
    11:57: UKIP immigration policy 'consistent' Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Tim Aker, UKIP MEP and parliamentary candidate for Thurrock, rejects assertions that UKIP has changed its mind on its immigration policy. He says the party has been "consistent", and that its target is to bring immigration under control.

     
  87.  
    @AngusMacNeilMP Angus MacNeil, SNP

    tweets: Interesting on @bbc5live panel..Farage claims of UK being most crowded country contradicted by Reckless who agreed with me - Netherlands is!

     
  88.  
    11:54: UKIP and Channel 4

    UKIP's Steven Woolfe gets a double round of applause as he says "when UKIP come into power, when we win this election... and when we do so Channel 4 by the way, I will be the immigration spokesman not the fantasy person you created."

     
  89.  
    11:52: Stephen Crabb House of Commons Parliament
    Stephen Crabb

    Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb answers questions in the Commons.

     
  90.  
    11:49: Tuition fees Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    On tuition fees, Labour front bencher Hilary Benn rejects the notion that Labour's policy - to reduce them from £9,000 to £6,000 - is "unravelling". He contends that Labour is on the side of students.

     
  91.  
    11:47: Lib Dem electoral fortunes Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    Lib Dem party president Tim Farron is pressed over the party's prospects at the forthcoming election. He thinks predictions the Lib Dems will lose up to 30 seats will not prove accurate. He says if the election is a "difficult experience" and the party comes through it "then the leader deserves all the credit for bringing us through it".

     
  92.  
    @daily_politics 11:47: DailySundayPolitics
    Opinion polls tracker

    tweets: Here are the poll graphics from #bbcdp debate with @afneil @Jo_Coburn @claire4devizes @timfarron @hilarybennmp

     
  93.  
    11:47: Household incomes Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The first subject under discussion is this morning's IFS report which says average household incomes are back to where they were before the financial crisis. Conservative minister Claire Perry welcomes the report's findings and says the trend on the cost of living is "really improving".

     
  94.  
    11:47: Labour tribute to Hain and Murphy

    Shadow Wales secretary Owen Smith also pays tribute to departing Welsh MPs. He notes that the list includes two former Labour secretaries of state: Peter Hain and Paul Murphy.

    Owen Smith
     
  95.  
    11:43: Pic: UKIP's Steven Woolfe
    Steven Woolfe at UKIP immigration speech

    UKIP's immigration spokesman Steven Woolfe is speaking now. As you can see the party's slogan is Believe in Britain.

     
  96.  
    11:43: Farage speech on immigration

    Mr Farage says that over 600,000 people came to settle in the UK last year. That's true - the figures from the Office for National Statistics show that immigration was up to 624,000 in the year to September 2014 from 530,000 in the previous 12 months. About 327,000 people emigrated from the UK in the same period. That left a net migration figure of 289,000, which is the one mostly talked about when politicians debate immigration levels.

     
  97.  
    11:38: MPs standing down House of Commons Parliament

    Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb tells MPs that this is the last Wales Office questions before the general election. He pays tribute to eight MPs in Wales who are standing down in May, saying they have "served their constituencies with distinction".

     
  98.  
    11:34: On BBC Two... Daily Politics Live on BBC Two

    The Daily Politics programme is under way, with Conservative MP and transport minister Claire Perry, shadow communities and local government secretary Hilary Benn and Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron on today's panel. We'll be bringing you live updates.

     
  99.  
    11:34: Wales Office questions House of Commons Parliament

    Questions to Wales Office ministers are just starting in the Commons. Topics include the labour market in Wales, the tourism sector, the Severn Barrage, and healthcare provision across the border between Wales and England.

     
  100.  
    11:34: Farage speech on immigration

    "In the most overcrowded country in Europe... we have to build one new dwelling every seven minutes just to cope with current levels of immigration," Mr Farage adds. He says he knows an unlimited supply of unskilled labour and open door immigration have been a boon for the very wealthy - which he says have done well from cheaper nannies and chauffeurs and gardeners - and businesses which "have kept wages artificially low."

     

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