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Last Updated: Monday, 20 December, 2004, 11:38 GMT
Will Blunkett's resignation weaken Labour?
New Home Secretary Charles Clarke arrives for a Cabinet Meeting at 10 Downing Street
Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly have started their new roles as home secretary and education secretary following the resignation of David Blunkett.

Charles Clarke's transfer to the Home Office sees him take charge of the possible introduction of national ID cards as well as asylum and immigration.

Ruth Kelly's challenges as education secretary include the proposed overhaul of education for 14 to 19-year-olds in England, repeated failures to meet targets on school tests and teacher workload.

Has David Blunkett's resignation weakened Tony Blair's government? Will Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly make a difference in their new roles? Tell us what you think.

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


Your comments:

SUGGEST A DEBATE
This topic was suggested by Sofia K from Greece:
What is David Blunkett's legacy?

Blunkett transformed Britain into a land fit for curtain twitchers. Unfortunately, most of his colleagues are every bit as committed to a nanny state. Things won't change very much. There is little sign that either opposition party offers a credible alternative.
David Anderson, Wakefield, West Yorkshire

Weakened? Compared to what? Maybe if there were some effective opposition then the voters would have an option - at the moment all options are weak
Holly, Godalming

Blunkett had to resign - the pressure from the media had become too much for him to survive in the Cabinet - but I think he will be making his return to Government in the next two years. It happened with Peter Mandelson, it'll happen with Blunkett.
Doug Devaney, Brighton, England

I'm sure Blunkett will be back
Neil, Southend, Essex
I don't know much about Ruth Kelly but I believe Charles Clarke is the right choice for Home Secretary - a big tough bloke for a big tough job, but one with perhaps a little more guile about him than David Blunkett. It shouldn't weaken the government at all and I'm sure Blunkett will be back.
Neil, Southend, Essex

How good it is to see Charles Clarke's smiling face beaming out from the pages of the BBC News Online website. Kind of gives me a warm glow of impending doom!
Richard Atkins, Wortham, UK

So one privately educated MP vacates the Education seat in the cabinet and another privately educated MP moves in. Just about sums up the decline of the Labour Party as the party of social justice. Weaken? Depends what you mean. Lacking in moral fibre? Definitely.
Frank, Bristol, UK

I sincerely hope so. However, the more important question is whether the new Home Secretary will make a difference. I foresee him bringing a similar level of arrogance to the job. He has the track record of a bully, so no change there then. As for Ruth Kelly, time will tell.
Neville Hunt, Hitchin UK

Blunkett was at the forefront of New Labour strategy for the next election
Geoffrey G Brooking, Lincolnshire
Of course it has weakened his government. Blunkett was at the forefront of New Labour strategy for the next election that I think they could seriously lose but when you go into an election as he did in both 1997 and 2001 promising complete integrity and behave the way he has done recently then you should pay the price.
Geoffrey G Brooking, Lincolnshire

Hopefully it will but given the way many inner city voters slavishly vote for the Tony Blair Party, I am not holding my breath.
David Russell, Glasgow, Scotland

Whether or not "New" Labour are weakened is irrelevant so long as there is no effective opposition party. In the present climate the Tories and the Lib Dems are bordering on insignificant and irrelevant. The only way to weaken Blair is to have a strong opposition with distinctive policies.
Keith , Woking, UK

The time it took Blunkett to resign typifies the arrogance of the current Blair government. He waited and waited until he had no choice but to go. He would have gained much more respect if he had held his hands up much earlier on.
Paul Adams, Hong Kong

It certainly won't strengthen Labour will it!
Elliot Van Emden, London, United Kingdom

Labour have been seriously wounded by this
John G, Battersea, England
The country has lost one of the few politicians in the cabinet who actually listened to the opinions of the electorate and worked for the people. Labour have been seriously wounded by this as the rest of the Government are seen as being aloof and not caring about those who elected them.
John G, Battersea, England

The best thing about Blunkett's resignation is that Charles Clarke has finally been moved out of Education, a position for which he was never suited. I can only hope his successor will be able to mend the damage he caused and show a little more responsibility in the role.
Colin Hoad, London, UK

It won't make much difference by the looks of things. Labour still want to treat us all like animals with their ID cards.
Robert Beattie, Reading, GB

One can only hope so - anything that improves the chances of this government being consigned to the dust-bin of history is to be welcomed.
Geoff, UK

After his ludicrous remarks about Prince Charles who can possibly take Clarke seriously? Blunkett's departure has without doubt weakened Labour.
Les, Morpeth, England

I do not think that Blunkett should have resigned!
Nasir Fazal, Northwood Hills, UK

I think Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly would do the job pretty well. But I do not think that Blunkett should have resigned! The situation has been aggravated by the 24 hour media culture. He's the most brilliant Home Secretary we ever had! I hope he will come back after the election to join the new cabinet.
Nasir Fazal, Northwood Hills, United Kingdom

Oh boy! I bet politicians in both parties are trembling with fear. If one is expected to be so impossibly squeaky clean, then the axe will soon drop for them all. Weaken Labour? A little may be but the Tories will be kidding themselves if they think this is some sort of turning point.
Anna, Germany

Abuse of power from any politician is not and never should be acceptable and he was right to resign.
Sophie, London

The whole affair will blow over quite quickly. Come New Year it will be business as usual. Blunkett did a silly thing for someone in his position and paid the inevitable price, I don't see why that should weaken the government now that he is gone. The only things that could weaken the government would be if Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly are not capable in their posts and that remains to be seen.
Julian, London, UK

Labour has not been weakened as a party, it has always been more than one man or indeed woman. The appointment of Charles Clarke and Ruth Kelly shows that Labour has talent and indeed has the team to complete the modernisation of the UK.
Peter Smyth, Saltcoats

New Labour has been very resilient (indifferent) to public opinion but yes, they are weakened. Despite two terms in government and a massive majority, they have very little new talent to fill the gaps. Charles Clarke is promoted despite leaving education with exams so easy that A-grades are ten-a-penny. Ruth Kelly is a complete unknown in a hugely important job.
Mark Fulford, Southampton, UK

What difference does it make if it does weaken the Labour Party? The Conservatives support all of the same policies so the effect will be the same whoever wins the next election.
Richard Read, London, UK

He always came across as a man of integrity and spoke a lot of common sense
Steve Cahill, Sandy, England
Blunkett was one of the few members of the current government who appeared to be genuinely interested in doing the job which he was elected to do. He always came across as a man of integrity and spoke a lot of common sense. He was definitely in a minority.
Steve Cahill, Sandy, England

I have never had much respect or trust for Tony Blair's Labour but David Blunkett was the one MP I felt had the interests of the country at heart and not his just his own career. This witch hunt has left the government weaker and my trust in parliament shaken. It's a crying shame that the one person who spoke some sense has gone.
Adam Kuhl, Bracknell, England

David Blunkett's departure will hit Labour badly, especially in the run up to the election. Law and order and asylum are two of the biggest weak spots for Labour and Mr Clarke's somewhat abrasive and patronising style will not sit well with many voters.
Chris Parker, Buckingham

I just hope the identity cards idea gets dropped now.
Chris, Sheffield

A hard act to follow
Yvonne, UK
David Blunkett is a hard act to follow. I hope Charles Clarke does not let us down and he carries on the good work that David has left behind.
Yvonne, UK

I think the 'Labour Party' is already a weakened party. There are a number of issues that have happened throughout their term in office that will lead me not to vote for them again.
Steve Pennell, Burnley, UK

There is a presumption in the Labour government that they can rely on the left wing vote. They concentrate their policies and presentation on trying to woo the right. After the tumultuous events of recent years, they can no longer rely on the left to come out. Losing Mr Blunkett - who was deeply unpopular amongst progressives - may help Labour to reconnect with their traditional support base.
Daniel, Manchester, UK

Blunkett was a strong and decisive home secretary, willing to make tough decisions. The Government and the country will be weaker without him
Alex Greig, Haywards Heath, UK

Labour has not been weakened. It's politics that has. Unfortunately the situation in the UK is just the same as in most countries across the world. There's no good politicians, with any real vision to choose from. So despite the latest in the Labour camp's sagas, Tony Blair will still win the next election. The only thing that might have changed is that the Lib Dems might have just gained a few extra votes this week and a few more disgruntled voters will have decided to stay home on election day.
Jonathan PD, Paris, France





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