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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 December, 2004, 16:00 GMT
Does the Blunkett inquiry go far enough?
Home Secretary David Blunkett

David Blunkett has said he did nothing wrong following allegations that a visa application for a nanny employed by his former lover was fast-tracked.

Letters published in the Daily Mail suggest the nanny had her application processed in less than 3 weeks, after initially being told the normal waiting time was a year.

According to Tory MP Dominic Grieve, the nanny should not have gained residency as she had not been in the UK for the required four years.

Mr Blunkett denies accusations that he mis-used his position and has set up an investigation into the matter.

Does the inquiry go far enough? What will it achieve? Send us your comments using the form.

This debate has now closed. Thank you for your comments.

Your comments:

This topic was suggested by Marc, Singapore/ex.UK
Should David Blunkett resign or should he be allowed to keep his private life and conduct separate from the public position he holds?

I think that there are far more important topics surrounding David Blunkett. I think all the recent news regarding his personal life is uninteresting and unimportant. Let's hear more on the anticipated cost of ID cards. I consider this more important for the country than what happens in David Blunkett's private life.
Adam, Barnstaple, Devon

Politicians and those who put themselves forward to lead our country should lead by example, and their private lives should be somewhere near acceptable. In my view, Blunkett's example is not one I would wish to see followed by others. He should go.
Derek, Ontario Canada

Oh for goodness sake! Another inquiry. Grow up government. I don't care what Blunkett does in his private life. I am vehemently against his policies and those are ammunition enough to challenge him about. I don't think we need to resort to digging up imaginary dirt about his private life! It undermines the stand of the people opposed to him and makes them seem like petty schoolboys complaining to the headmaster that the head boy has mismatching socks!
Eva, Warwick

I agree with the chairman of the Committee on Standards in Public Life who said the inquiry should have been set up under proper procedures. Blunkett can't be unaware that an official inquiry would be far wider-ranging than one ordered.
Marie Howard, England

Leave David Blunkett alone! He is the only one who has the bottle to say and do what he thinks is right, in all the government positions that he has held.
David Hunter, Turkey

David Blunkett should resign with immediate effect. He has compromised his position and the trust of the public. Forget the inquiry. It means nothing and is worth nothing.
Shiraz Peer, Watford, UK

I'm no fan of the government, but what difference does it make how Mr Blunkett behaved? It just takes the focus off the real agenda and will only amount to a crass waste of time, resources and money, all of which would be better spent elsewhere.
Jon Bristol, UK

I just think it's ironic that the man who wants to know all about our private life is bleating because someone is looking into his.
RS, Glasgow UK

This is ridiculous. A mountain is being made of a molehill. If the nanny of Blunkett's ex-lover is a suspected terrorist or criminal, then go ahead and hold the enquiry. If she is just a nanny then don't bother. All people in a position of power will bend the rules regardless so I don't see why the media are even bothering with the fuss. I'm more interested in Blunkett's ID card proposals.
Dan, Glasgow, Scotland

The media are definitely not serving the public interest here, because the public is not interested
Katherine, London, UK
I am no fan of David Blunkett, but this is just silly. If he actually produced a different result for this application, then yes, he abused his position. If he made sure the form was correct or even, god forbid, sped it up a bit, then for goodness sake there are more important things at hand. The media are definitely not serving the public interest here, because the public is not interested.
Katherine, London, UK

Sleaze! Isn't that what used to be shouted at the Tories?
RB, Dunstable, UK

Let's have the inquiry, and then when Mr Blunkett is cleared, send the bill to the newspaper that sensationalised this rather trivial and tedious piece of gossip.
Colin MacDonald, Glasgow, Scotland

This government has made it its business to control our private lives (can't smack, can't smoke, can't hunt) and then these same MP's state that they are entitled to their own private lives which are none of our business! Yet again double standards. When will they learn?
Brian, London England

I'm sick of ministers abusing their positions
Rob, London
So it's not a big deal pushing through a visa for his ex lovers nanny. Try telling that to the honest tax paying citizens trying to get a visa - it took my wife 8 months to get a visa for right of abode in which time both our passports were held by the home office ensuring I was unable to travel (part of my job) - I'm sick of ministers abusing their positions.
Rob, London

Oh for goodness sake, what a load of pap about nothing. How many of the self-righteous brigade haven't themselves sneaked the odd little perk of their job?
Robert Bell, Maidenhead, Berks

Are people in this country really that naive to think that there are not real implications that Blunkett has abused his position? Of course the allegations are directly relevant to Blunkett's position. The point is - is there any point to this inquiry? I suspect that there will be a whitewash and I have had little faith in the accountability of our government for some time now.
Sean, Edinburgh

If David did allow a visa application to be fast tracked, I can not see what problems this would cause the British Public, she would be paid a wage and therefore would pay taxes. The public would not lose anything from her coming into the country, it's just a waste of money.
Michael Cullen, Waterlooville, Hampshire

How can we take politicians seriously when they behave like the guests on programmes like Trisha and Jerry Springer!
Jo, Nottingham

Of course it will not go far enough
Maurice, Newcastle

Of course it will not go far enough, why should it? Butler and Hutton only put up the sales of Whitewash at B&Q, why should this one be any different?
Maurice, Newcastle

How is it that when the Conservatives were ever accused of 'sleaze' they were rightly held to account? But Blunkett can pretty much please himself. Another example of the hypocrisy of the left and centre parties. The new Labour election slogan should be "Do as I say not as I do!"
Oliver, Leeds

While this matter is indeed trivial, it is ironic and amusing that someone like Blunkett has been found to be involved in abuse of power. Poetic justice!
Phil, Newcastle, UK

Who cares! The man does his job well and so what if he helped someone. Big deal.
Josh Hawes, Newtown, Mid Wales

Another enquiry, another white wash? As soon as the word 'enquiry' is mentioned it sends a shiver down my spine. It seems now that anyone in government can get away with anything and then get absolved of all responsibility with one simple wash (white wash that is).
Chris Jones, Swindon

Those who are empowered to make laws and dictate moral standards must be beyond reproach. The man should resign.
Martin Hill-Jones, Llannon, Wales, UK

This is a real cheap shot
Ben Goddard, Devon
This is pathetic, who cares? I am no Labour supporter but I have to stick up for them here - this is a real cheap shot. Who cares that he gave some first class rail tickets to someone he knew? Who cares that he speeded up her nannies visa application? How much is this going to cost the taxpayer? What on earth is going on in this country? No enquiry into the Deep Cut allegations but an enquiry into this non-event, we all know what the outcome will be, 'no evidence to support the allegations'!
Ben Goddard, Devon

What a waste of money. Clearly this woman is using all her influence to cause trouble for Mr. Blunkett as he wants access to his own children. The newspapers are taking her side because she publishes newspapers for a living. Not a single journalist has the guts to report the issue fairly so we, the taxpayers, have to fork out for an inquiry. Shame on you hacks of Britain, you're a bunch of grovelling cowards.
Jim Fish, London, UK

What next? Fire David Blunkett for failing to disclose a paper-clip he took home? Get real!
Ralph, Staines

Surely the inquiry should be widened to take in the whole "nanny state".
Brian Osborne, London

Remarkable that a party who so viciously attacked the last Conservative government for the behaviour of its MPs now sees nothing wrong with its own ministers' identical behaviour!
Constantine, London

The real inquiry should be into all the money wasted on pointless inquiries
Andy, Brighton, UK
The real inquiry should be into all the money wasted on pointless inquiries. So he helped her fill in a form? Does that mean I shouldn't be able to help someone I know to fill in a direct debit mandate? Even if he did fast track the visa application, who really cares?
Andy, Brighton, UK

I agree that a private life is just that but such a grown up view did not seem so prevalent 8 years ago in the midst of several Tory "sleaze" scandals or even more recently in the cases of Robin Cook or Boris Johnson. Whilst all the right noises are being made about respect for private lives etc, the survival of a politician caught out in this way seems to depend on whether his or her popularity with their party leader and whether the party is prepared to close ranks in support. As for the inquiry, I'm afraid such a narrow remit simply raises suspicions that the preferred outcome is being sought rather than the facts. Not surprising really since any good barrister (and Tony Blair) knows not to ask questions to which you don't know (and might not like) the answers.
Anon, London, UK

Government ministers should set a high standard in their personal lives. Messing about in someone else's marriage falls well short of that standard. Tony Blair should have made that very evident to David Blunkett before he was made a minister. It would seem that Tony Blair can set aside any law which doesn't suit him and perhaps his attitude to someone's marriage vows can be set aside to suit the need of the day in this 'New Labour' concept.
Noel Dobson, York UK

If his morals are this slack, how can we be sure he has made the correct decisions on other matters
Callum McGillivray, Portchester, Hampshire
No, he should face a complete enquiry into all his actions as home secretary, after all if his morals are this slack, how can we be sure he has made the correct decisions on other matters? The labour party, after all hounded many Tory ministers to resignation, for lesser offences than this!
Callum McGillivray, Portchester, Hampshire

What kind of Government have we got if an unmarried minister has an affair and an illegitimate child with a married woman? With unemployment this high why did they employ a foreign nanny? Blunkett should resign and Blair with him.
Chris, Woking , Surrey

End result - whitewash
Joseph Morgan, Norwich, Norfolk
A typical response from the Government: limit the scope of any enquiry, find something the accused hasn't done and then send the big guns out to focus on saying that and refuse to answer questions on other allegations and make noises that pre-judge the outcome. End result - whitewash. The other thing I don't understand is why some ministers/MP's are 'resigned' when details of an affair are exposed but others must be able to 'lead a private life'. I suppose it depends on how highly placed your friends are.
Joseph Morgan, Norwich, Norfolk

To be cabinet minister, I think you have to demonstrate certain morals in both your private and public lives (I disagree that senior politicians should be able to do what they want in private). Marriages end, people have affairs, fair enough, but this goes further than that in that not only does Blunkett demonstrate zero morals but he also demonstrates absolutely no judgement at all. He is not fit for office.
Greg, St Albans

In answer to the 'who cares' questions: I imagine all the people who were bumped down the visa application list to make way for the nanny (if the allegations are true) will care a great deal. This isn't the same as a doctor giving a spouse medical advice as one reader suggested. Instead, compare it to a doctor's spouse pushing in front of you in a queue for surgery.
Rob Smith, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK

He can't preach one thing and then do something different
M Charlton, Pontefract England
I am sorry to say if David breaks the rules like many of his colleagues before him, then he has to go. He can't preach one thing and then do something different. After all when the Tories were caught with their trousers down, he was the loudest shouter in the commons for them to go. Now it is his turn. Blunkett should go.
M Charlton, Pontefract England

What a waste of taxpayers money! If Blunkett is really innocent, why has he authorised an expensive enquiry that has no purpose ? Isn't this, in itself, an abuse of his position?
Trevor Wilson, Birmingham, UK

I have always been an admirer of the Home Secretary for the way he has overcome his challenges and risen to his current position. However I am beginning to doubt his judgement and as such don't think an inquiry is good enough. He should go before Tony (let's have an inquiry in to why so many inquiries) Blair pushes him.
Ishrat M, Solihull

We are all missing the point, David Blunkett holds the third highest post in the government, and it's not much to expect that ministers uphold higher standards than anyone else, after all they are the law makers and we must have total confidence in them.
Pez, Eastleigh, Hants, UK

Abuse of power should be punished in the public interest
Andrew B, Dorchester, England
Abuse of power should be punished in the public interest. It is a important message to all politicians that they must uphold rules and not bend them to suit.
Andrew B, Dorchester, England

Sad lonely Blunkett has behaved stupidly like a love smitten teenager. At the end of the day he is a human being and the current frenzy of interest is an indication of just how sad large parts of the British population are. These claimed irregularities in his conduct are laughably insignificant. There are far graver matters going on in Iraq at present that this government would sooner us not concern ourselves with. The whole Blunkett nonsense is a convenient distraction and Blair must be very pleased to have such an easily manipulated public.
Dr R G Allen, Canterbury

I think we should be focussing on more important things really. So what if he helped fast-track a visa application? It's one of the perks of knowing someone in the government. I'd be concerned if there was a reason that the woman shouldn't have got a visa and Blunkett had used his position to push the application through despite this reason - but all we're arguing about here is whether he sped up an application.
Joe, Newbury, UK

Again, the media are blowing this out of proportion. Mr Blunkett simply helped a friend by checking her application was up to scratch. We have all done it, given advice or been given advice on our area of knowledge. He has also been able to provide reasonable explanations for all the other allegations. As far as I can see he has done nothing wrong.
Leanne , Dundee, UK

The lack of judgement shown by his policies is now revealed in his private life
Alex Duggan, UK
Having an affair with someone who is married potentially opens you to blackmail. Were he a civil servant, Mr Blunkett would not pass top security vetting for that reason. And he is nominally in charge of our Security Service. The lack of judgement shown by his policies is now revealed in his private life. Time to go!
Alex Duggan, UK

Maybe we should have another inquiry as to whether this inquiry goes far enough?
Nick, London

So it's ok for him to bend the rules, while the rest of us have to be accountable for every misdemeanour? Hardly reassuring from the man who wants all our "private" lives on an ID chip.
Gerry Noble, Salisbury, UK

When Blunkett drops his demands for control on other peoples' private lives, then he will be entitled to his. Meanwhile, he has some serious allegations against him regarding his waste of public time and money, coupled with breaches of (amongst other things) the Official Secrets Act - and if they are found to be so, he should be held fully accountable. However, we already know that there will be another whitewash...
Peter, Southampton

The inquiry will be yet another whitewash
Pennie Forthem, Uckfield, East Sussex
Can someone please tell me: what is the difference between Tory sleaze and New Labour Sleaze? After all, New Labour made such a huge fuss about Tory sleaze being morally wrong, but New Labour sleaze seems to be morally okay! The inquiry will be yet another whitewash. Are we surprised! Probably not.
Pennie Forthem, Uckfield, East Sussex

The public should be far more concerned about the draconian laws that Blunkett is trying to push through rather than this convenient smoke screen. The freedoms he is intent on destroying were fought for by honest, hard working people. Judge him on his poor policies rather than his private life.
Paul Drew, UK

I'm no fan of David Blunkett, but if this is the only evidence of how he has 'abused' his position, then I don't think we have much to worry about. Sleaze? Any other country in the world would laugh at us.
Ian, Southampton, UK

Another inquiry with terms of reference so tightly drawn that there is only one possible answer "Not guilty".
BrianW, Chelmsford, UK

What's the big deal? Put yourself in Blunkett's position and tell me you wouldn't have done the same - if indeed he did what he is accused of doing. Perhaps Tony Blair recognises that this really isn't a big issue and that's why he is standing by Mr Blunkett. I personally feel this enquiry is a shambles that's a last desperate attempt to tarnish the Labour Government before the elections.
Martin Griffin, Gosport, England

Naivety is a dangerous flaw for a politician
Mark, London, UK
The inquiry will achieve nothing, but I think it is irrelevant now. Naivety is a dangerous flaw for a politician, and especially a Home Secretary, and I believe his credibility will never recover.
Mark, London, UK

This story (like so many others over the years) has nothing whatsoever to do with the probity of the Government Minister in question, and everything to do with the fact that our tabloid press feel the need to claim a political scalp every few months.
John, England

Does it matter if he fast-tracked the application or not? If the application would have been accepted anyway this should not be an issue. Who doesn't try and help friends? An inquiry would only be needed if he forced an application to pass if it would otherwise have failed. As for the other claims, these are just to try and paint a bad picture of him.
Robert, Northants

It's interesting to see how Biometic Blunkett wants us all to carry cards detailing every aspect of our personal lives, but when it comes to his own rather shabby behaviour, shutters come down. This inquiry is hamstrung from the start, and will be just as much a pointless whitewash as the pathetic Hutton Report.
Martin, Brighton, England

David Blunkett has declared that his private life is his own business not open for scrutiny. Shame that, I feel the same way myself about ID cards...
John, London

Hold the inquiry in line with the Committee requirements. Anything less will be seen as a whitewash.
Michael Kay, London, UK

As someone who has been through the visa process, I don't think it's appropriate that he can be allowed to use his position, even if not directly, then by implication, to speed up a long and arduous process which all the other applicants have to wait their turn for.
Adrian, UK

There's a lot more for the general public to be concerned about than this
Emma Tyler, Plymouth, UK
I simply cannot see what all the fuss is about. Blunkett used his position to do somebody a favour. How many of us can honestly say we wouldn't do the same, or wouldn't take advantage of such a favour? There's a lot more for the general public to be concerned about than this.
Emma Tyler, Plymouth, UK

The scope of most of the recent inquiries have been insufficient. If a Government or representative of Government's behaviour has been called into question, then nobody within that body should have any say as to who is appointed to oversee it!
Nick Payne, Alcester, UK

Had this been a conservative government, he would have been long gone already at the slightest hint of a scandal.
Steven Hill, Edinburgh, UK

Blunkett has restricted the remit to precisely what he knows will escape censure - a standard procedure for this sleazy government. But what an outstanding hypocrite Blair is! Ten years ago every detail of a Tory sex scandal was gloated over by his party in opposition. Now Blair piously declares that this is all off-limits. But people aren't as stupid as Blair thinks.
Paul , Slough

There is no point in setting up an enquiry, unless it follows set procedures and is independent
Sanjay, London, UK
The problem is, appointing "one of their own" to head an enquiry will exonerate Mr Blunkett, regardless of whether he is guilty or not. There is no point in setting up an enquiry, unless it follows set procedures and is independent. You only need to look at the enquiries involving the BBC/Dr Kelly/Hutton Report/Iraq/etc. In all of these, everyone was guilty of some wrongdoing, other than the government. This is a waste of time and money. The outcome has already been decided by Tony Blair, when he says Mr Blunkett has his full support.
Sanjay, London, UK

If in any way David Blunkett compromised national security by all means hold an inquiry and hold him accountable. If all he did was give someone he cared about a train tickets and speeded up the nanny's visa, please don't waste my taxes on this nonsense.
Patricia, Carshalton, England

Whilst I agree that David Blunkett should not have abused his position I find it distasteful how the media and opposition politicians are baying for his head. The other allegations made are trivial to say the least and I really wish politicians and the media would refrain from this feeding frenzy mentality over what appears to be nothing.
Christopher Beach, London, UK

Yet another pointless distraction to prevent our government from doing more important work - like combating terrorism! When will people learn that we are the ones who lose from yet more media muck stirring?
Tony, UK

The inquiry must be seen to be fair and just
Halim Chishtie, Leeds, England
I agree with Sir Alistair. The inquiry must be seen to be fair and just and must therefore be set up under the procedures recommended; in my opinion the enquiry is academic since the Home Secretary, by merely assisting in the completion of the visa form and ensuring that it was correctly completed actually approved it and that's that, quite simple.
Halim Chishtie, Leeds, England

Let us by all means have a full, robust and transparent inquiry into these allegations. Let us also have a full, robust and transparent inquiry into the source and motives of these allegations, as reported in our national press. This will clear the air.
Terence H. Coleman, Thornton Heath, UK

I suppose on a purely legalistic basis the proposed inquiry is sufficient. I would have thought on a pragmatic basis Blunkett would welcome a full and frank inquiry covering all aspects of the affair so that he can put it behind him.
Shaw Green, Ulm, Germany

It's their policies that should be attacked, not their private lives
Tom, Slough
This is so childish. So he helped someone apply for a visa - Big deal! It's their policies that should be attacked, not their private lives!
Tom, Slough

What a waste of time, is this all our politicians can do with their time. How about an inquiry on Smoking in Public Places, why are judges being exempt from taxes, why do MPs vote themselves pension way beyond what us mere mortals can obtain, the list is endless. But let's no worry about these important things, lets dig the dirt on a fellow MP, just about sums up the level of intelligence of our representatives.
Cliff, Colchester UK

The way I understand it, Tony Blair makes the final decision on any action once the inquiry is complete! - So, no wrong-doing by Mr Blunkett then.
Duncan Barnes, Surrey, UK

It seems fine to me. If Blunkett has fast tracked the visa, then he has to go. If not, then he should stay. If he has not fast tracked the visa, it would seem that the woman has been economical with the truth in order to damage him and any further allegations she comes out with should be ignored as the fulminations of a bitter ex-lover.
Chris, London, UK

By a step of reverse logic, does the fact that Mr Blunkett instigated this 'single case' inquiry suggest that he does not wish to have an inquiry into the other matters?
Ivan, Basingstoke England

Mr Blunkett seems to be accused of a small number of specific misdemeanours. It benefits everyone if they can be verified or rejected quickly rather than spending months and millions pursuing some wide-ranging inquiry.
Lorraine, St Albans, UK

It doesn't seem the world's biggest scandal. I presume there was no reason why the nanny shouldn't have got a visa? Blunkett seems to have done no more than any individual would have for his partner (how many doctors make their wives go on a 6 month waiting list to consult them about health issues, how many judges give legal advice to friends?). This inquiry is just a waste of public money.
Peter, Nottingham (U.K)

There is no such thing as a clear, clean division between private and business life
Maureen Huntley, Orpington, Kent
There is no such thing as a clear, clean division between private and business life, although at this time it seems politically convenient to claim there is. The message being sent out to young people is appalling.
Maureen Huntley, Orpington, Kent

What is this, giant cucumber season again? This so called 'scandal' quite simply ridiculous. Who really honestly cares? Only the Labour hating media. Politicians are still fellow human beings and as fellow human beings still have the right to a private life.
Craig, Cambridge, UK

An inquiry that covers only half the story. Wait for the outcome and claim that the issue has been resolved and there'll be no more mention of it. Smacks of the Hutton enquiry to me.
Rob, Chelmsford

If this inquiry went further, I should imagine a large number of MPs would be very worried about their own careers.
Jonathan, Middlesex

Leave him alone and let him get on with more pressing matter
J Karran, Liverpool, UK
What a load of old tut! Waste of time and money. The disenfranchised left have got it in for Blunkett after he has out Toried the Tories. These are the 'dark forces' he mentioned. Leave him alone and let him get on with more pressing matters.
J Karran, Liverpool, UK

Here we go again. One inquiry isn't good enough is it, so let's waste more money on another one. The politicians in this country waste more money than the rest of us put together. No wonder we're all borrowing beyond our limits.
Bob, UK

The war of attrition that wages on relentlessly between the party leaderships is certainly one of the more irritating features of British politics. Whether or not Mr.Blunkett is facing a kangaroo court must surely be immaterial. By whatever means he's judged and for better or for worse, if nothing can be made to stick then no action can be taken against him.
Patrick V. Staton, Guildford. UK

What I want to know is how is he able to do his job as Home Secretary and also have the time to "bombard" the lady with emails? And why is it ok for him to have an affair but not Cook.. or Johnson.. or...

Let the inquiry investigate all allegations rather than just the one that David Blunkett is happy to have investigated.
Kevin T, Alton, UK

Is this what politics have come to? An enquiry into whether a person of power, used that power to speed up a nanny's application. Hardly a crime in the grand scheme of things. What about Directors giving their family jobs, could that be seen as an abuse of power? The whole thing is pathetic.
Deb, UK

You have to hand it to this government, they have got this inquiry business down to a tee.
Rob, Cambridge

Is there really any point to an inquiry?
Dave Godfrey, Swindon

Is there really any point to an inquiry? Tony Blair has said that David Blunkett has his full support - a clear indication he'll be gone by the end of the week.
Dave Godfrey, Swindon

When will they learn. Unless the inquiry is utterly transparent, independent and addresses all the issues, it will be seen as a whitewash regardless of the final outcome. And for Tony Blair to state that he believes Blunkett will be totally exonerated just adds to the stench gathering around the whole thing.
Ian, UK

More sleaze from a sleazy government. As much as his private life is his own, but right now it is in the public domain and Blunkett has behaved with incredible stupidity.
Carole, UK

For gods sake leave the guy alone! Ok, so he has used his position to better a friend or whatever - so what. It's like someone getting their mate a discount at a shop they're working in isn't it? I wish people would grow up and start worrying about real issues.
Adam, Birmingham, UK

If he did use his position to fast track a visa, no matter who for, he should go and so should Tony Blair.
Terry McGovern, Watford England

Yes, the inquiry is going far enough
Jenni, Sheffield, UK

Yes, the inquiry is going far enough - the issue of the visa application is the only one that Mr Blunkett is denying. He has openly admitted to everything else, and explained it, so what is there to investigate? This whole issue is ridiculous. It is a desperate swipe from the Tories, who always seem to be able to surprise us no matter how low our opinion of them to start with.
Jenni, Sheffield, UK

The Labour Government has shrugged off pressure before and two inquiries were launched and both failed to point anything out. This inquiry will be used to absorb the pressure and the outcome will not see Mr Blunkett being replaced as Labour has proven to be one of the many democracies that does not practice what it preaches.
Khaled Arikat, London, UK


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