A scandal-tainted British cabinet minister has quit for a second time in less than a year. David Blunkett’s resignation is an embarrassing blow for the government. The Work and Pensions secretary has been under fire for accepting jobs while briefly out of office and not following the required procedure for former ministers taking private work.
“I step down today precisely to protect the government from diversion, from the policies we are carrying out, from the reforms we’re bringing in. And I don’t think you need to be a genius to recognise events, not just of the last few days, but of the last few weeks have certainly been a diversion from the real business of being able report news,” he announced.
Blunkett had been given three written warnings to consult an advisory committee over taking jobs which he apparently ignored. Only yesterday, he attended formal engagements with the British Prime Minister and had insisted he would not be leaving. But now after mounting calls from the opposition for his resignation Blunkett is to be replaced by cabinet minister John Hutton. Blunkett was only re-admitted into the cabinet a few months ago.
He had quit from his post of Interior Minister following a scandal over an affair with a married woman, where it was claimed he had fast-tracked a visa for his former lover’s nanny.