Page last updated at 12:07 GMT, Wednesday, 2 November 2005

Blunkett 'hounded out of office'

David Blunkett
David Blunkett used to leader of Sheffield Council

David Blunkett has been "hounded out of office" according to his political agent in his home city of Sheffield.

Mr Blunkett was elected as MP for the city's Brightside constituency in 1987 and has always retained strong roots in the area.

Harry Harpham said the resignation had been brought about by the Conservative Party and the press.

"So, no I don't see it as David brought it on himself. He's been hounded out of office," he added.

"David's made a few, what I think, David has admitted himself, are minor oversights," Mr Harpham continued.

"There was some confusion about actually what he needed to do

"But this has been brought about by the press and the Conservative party hounding him out of office.

"They've been, the press have been trying to hound him out of office since he got the job after the election in May.

"It's intensified over the last couple of months and unfortunately they've been successful."

One of his other closest political allies is the former Sheffield MP Helen Jackson who praised his work for the city.

Politics is what David lives for
Clive Betts MP

"He has been loyal to Sheffield and Sheffield has been loyal to him," Mrs Jackson said.

"Ever since he has held high office he has never neglected his constituency," Mrs Jackson said.

"He has been loyal to Sheffield and Sheffield has been loyal to him."

But she admitted that his past few years have not been without problems.

"He's done some foolish things and he's aware of them."

Technical breach

Another friend, Clive Betts, the MP for Sheffield Attercliffe, admitted it was hard to see how the former work and pensions secretary could return to the top of government for a third time.

"A second resignation in such a short period time for a technical breach it is a very high price to pay.

"I think there always has to be a degree of tolerance in these matters.

"Did his action make him financially better off or did he misuse his position as secretary of state - no.

"A matter of a misunderstanding has led to the loss of a very important figure in public life."

Mr Betts said that aside from the political point-scoring people should have sympathy for him.

"Politics is what David lives for," he added.

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