Topic: David Blunkett

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David Blunkett (born 6 June 1947) is a British Labour politician, who has been the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside since 1987. Blind since birth and from a poor family in one of Sheffield's most deprived districts, he rose to become Education Secretary in Tony Blair's first Cabinet from 1997 to 2001, and then Home Secretary from 2001 to 2004, when he resigned after a scandal. Following the 2005 general election, he was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, but was again forced to resign on after a series of reports about his external business interests during his brief time outside the cabinet.

Born in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England, Blunkett grew up in an underprivileged family and in 1959, he endured a family tragedy when his father was gravely injured in an industrial accident in which he fell into a vat of boiling water while at work as a foreman for the East Midlands Gas Board and died a month later. This left the surviving family in poverty, especially since the board refused to pay compensation for two years because he was working past retirement age (67).

Blind since birth, and educated at schools for the blind in Sheffield and Shrewsbury, Blunkett's chances in life seemed limited. Following his father's death, he was sent on assessment to the School for the Blind in Worcester (New College Worcester), where he failed to gain entry. His failed assessment is said to be partly deliberate, due to his rebellious nature and dislike of public schools. However, he later attended the Royal National College for the Blind in Shrewsbury. Indeed, he was apparently told at school that one of his few options in life was to become a lathe operator. Nevertheless, he won a place at the University of Sheffield, where he gained a BA honours degree in Political Theory and Institutions; one of his lecturers was Bernard Crick. He entered local politics on graduation. He worked as a clerk typist between 1967 and 1969 and as a lecturer in industrial relations and politics between 1973 and 1981.

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