With Interior Minister David Blunkett’s resignation and a censure from the law lords this will have to go down as down a bad news week for Tony Blair. The terror legislation ruling undermines the prime minister but the loss of a key ally is even more damaging with a general election possibly just months away. Blunkett would have played a major role on the campaign trail. Political analyst John Kampfner said he will be sorely missed.
“When he said things, he meant them, and often he lived them through his own experience. That brings, or that brought to this government a huge asset. One that is irreplaceable.”
Blunkett’s rise to the highest levels of government was impressive. After entering political life at 22 he rose through Labour’s ranks, finding a place in the heart of government in 1997 as education minister. He later moved to the Home Office, Britain’s interior ministry.
But he finally lost the support of cabinet colleagues with the publication this week of a biography, which contained some frank views about his peers. Blunkett’s fall resembles that of another Blair stalwart – Peter Mandelson. But he returned from the wilderness to be nominated for an EU commission post. Some analysts believe Blunkett cannot yet be written off as a political force.