David Blunkett is a British Labour politician – and more recently academic – best known for being Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair’s Cabinet following Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election.
David was born blind with improperly developed optic nerves due to a rare genetic disorder and grew up in an underprivileged family which suffered tragedy when his father was gravely injured in an industrial accident and died a month later.
He was apparently told at school that one of his few options in life was to become a lathe operator, but he went on to a place at the University of Sheffield, where he gained a BA honours degree in Political Theory and Institutions, and following a steady progression within local politics and university lecturing, he was elected Member of Parliament for Sheffield Brightside in 1987.
During the Blair administration David was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Employment, a key role due to the Prime Minister’s priority of ‘education, education, education’. Blunkett also established Job Centre Plus and oversaw the Equal Opportunities Commission.
At the start of the Labour government’s second term in 2001, Blunkett was promoted to Home Secretary, fulfilling an ambition of his. He faced many challenges including the September 11 attacks, rising asylum claims, and archaic sex offences legislation, but he proved more than capable in this position, which led to many touting him as a possible future Prime Minister.
David resigned from the post in 2004 but was returned to the cabinet a year later as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, where he faced a growing pension crisis. Following the 2010 General Election, which saw Labour deposed as the country’s largest party, David continued to represent Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough until stepping down in 2015.
As a political speaker, David provides an insider’s view on the political spectrum. An engaging, inspiring and motivating individual, his own story reveals a tale of overcoming considerable adversity whilst his knowledge of the benefits of diversity, managing change and social responsibility in politics make his after-dinner and keynote speeches truly captivating.
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- Political Speaker
- World Affairs
- Employment & Education
- Overcoming Adversity