David Blunkett was elected as the
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside in 1987. However, his
outstanding political career began in local government as a member of
Sheffield City Council where he worked for eighteen years, seven of
those years as Leader of the Council.
In Parliament, David led Labour's assault on the poll
tax as Opposition Local Government Spokesman. Promoted to the Shadow
Cabinet in 1992, he took on, in turn, responsibility for Health,
Education and then Education and Employment.
Following the 1997 Labour election victory, David became
Secretary of State for Education and Employment. There he oversaw
massive improvements in the basic standards of literacy and numeracy,
substantial class size reductions and the introduction of university
tuition fees. He led on the implementation of the New Deal, saw
unemployment fall to below 1 million and was committed to increasing
equality through responsibility for the Equal Opportunities Commission
and the establishment of the Disability Rights Commission.
When Labour returned for a second term in 2001, David
became Home Secretary, where he dealt with counter-terrorism and the
aftermath of the September 11th attacks, crime and anti-social
behaviour, managing immigration and asylum, policing, criminal justice,
prison and probation services, and citizenship.
David took a leading role in fighting Labour’s third
term election campaign in spring 2005, and from May to November 2005, he
was made Secretary of State for Work and Pensions where he set a clear
vision for reform of the welfare state, and established a nationwide
debate to find a long-term solution to pensions challenges.
Since 2006, in addition to completing his diaries,
“The Blunkett Tapes”, David has undertaken a series of
major pieces of work – including on anti poverty and affordable credit;
on social mobility; a review of the future role of the community and
voluntary sector - at the request of the Prime Minister; and Chaired a
major review of dedicated school transport - leading a Commission which
recommended extensive changes. Since the beginning of 2009 he has also
commenced a review of police accountability for the Home Office.
In addition, David continues to take a direct interest
in cyber security – including as Honorary Chair of the Information
Systems Security Association (ISSA-UK) Advisory Board. He continues to
undertake work on an international basis on welfare reform, on internet
security and data processing, and maintains his long-standing interest
in education, skills and training. David is involved with a large number
of local, national and international charities, and is a regular
contributor to the British media through newspapers and journals, radio
and television, and through a column in The Sun - Britain’s biggest
selling daily newspaper.