David Blunkett

Most Popular

Sheffield, England
Birth Sign
Sheffield, England

David Blunkett is a British Labour Party politician who became the first blind person to hold a ministerial position in Great Britain. Blind since birth and raised in poverty, he emerged as a successful politician through his sheer determination. After losing his father in an industrial accident, he and his mother were left virtually penniless, but with immense willpower, he earned a place at Sheffield University. Soon he became a Labour councilor and was later appointed as the leader of Sheffield Council. He chaired the Labour Party during the 1990s, gradually transforming himself into one of the leading voices calling for modernization of the party. First as the Shadow Secretary of health, and later the Shadow Secretary of education, he paved his way towards becoming the Secretary of Education in Tony Blair’s cabinet in 1997. His success as the Education Secretary saw him promoted to Home Secretary after the 2001 election. But his personal affairs interfered with his political career and he had little option but to quit the cabinet. Along with being a politician he is also a popular conference and after dinner speaker and has co-authored a number of publications. He continues to serve as a politician and his life is a source of inspiration to millions of people around the globe.

Childhood and Adolescence

Arthur Blunkett, an East Midlands Gas Board foreman, and his wife Doris Blunkett had him on June 6, 1947, in Sheffield, South Yorkshire. Because of incorrectly developing optic nerves, David has been blind since birth. When his father perished in an industrial accident in which he fell into a vat of boiling water while at work in 1959, the family faced devastation. His family was left penniless as a result of the occurrence.

He acquired his early schooling at Sheffield and Shrewsbury institutions for the blind. In Shrewsbury, he attended the Royal National College for the Blind. He refused to take piano lessons in school and insisted on a broader education. He went on to the University of Sheffield, where he obtained a BA honors degree in Political Theory and Institutions.

Career of David Blunkett

In 1970, he was elected to Sheffield City Council as the city’s youngest councilor. He graduated from Huddersfield College of Education with a Post Graduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) in 1973. He was a member of Sheffield City Council from 1980 to 1988, and he led the council from 1980 to 1987. He gained popularity inside the Labour Party and was elected to the National Executive Committee during his stint as leader in the 1980s.

He was elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Brightside with a big majority in a safe Labour seat in the 1987 general elections, and later became the party’s spokesman on local administration. He became a member of the shadow cabinet in 1992 and was named Shadow Secretary of State for Health, a position he held until 1994. Then, until the 1997 general election, he served as Shadow Secretary of State for Education and Employment.

Following the Labour Party’s victory in the 1997 general election, he was named Secretary of State for Education and Employment, making him the first blind cabinet minister in the United Kingdom. He adopted harsh measures as Secretary of State, ready to take on the teachers’ unions and committed to ensure basic reading and numeracy levels.
Following the general election in 2001, he was appointed to the position of Home Secretary at the start of the Labour Party’s second term. He remained in the position until 2004, when he resigned due to highly publicized personal matters.

Following the 2005 general election, he was re-instated in the cabinet as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, but was forced to quit due to a controversy involving external commercial interests during his time outside the government.

He appeared on Channel Five’s reality show ‘Banged Up’ in 2008. He has starred as a celebrity chef in the British television series ‘The F Word’ and in a celebrity version of the TV show ‘Mastermind.’ He is also a published author, having written or co-authored many books, including the memoirs ‘On a Clear Day’ (1995) and the diary ‘The Blunkett Tapes: My Life in the Bear Pit’ (2006). Since 2011, he has been a visiting lecturer at the London School of Business and Finance.

As a Member of Parliament, he continues to represent the Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough area. He is also the National Alzheimer’s Society’s Vice President and the Royal National Institute of Blind People’s Vice President.

Personal History and Legacy

He married Ruth Gwynneth Mitchell in 1970, and they had three sons: Alastair, Hugh, and Andrew. They were divorced in 1990. His three-year romance with Kimberly Quinn, a writer and magazine publisher, was uncovered in 2004 by the ‘News of the World.’ After considerable conjecture in the news, DNA testing showed that he was the father of Quinn’s eldest kid. In January 2009, he revealed that he and Margaret Williams, a doctor, were engaged to be married. The pair married on October 3, 2009, at a Sheffield church.

Estimated Net Worth

The estimated net worth of David Blunkett is $1 Million.