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EDITIONS
 Thursday, 23 January, 2003, 16:58 GMT
Blunkett revels in straight talking image
David Blunkett
The home secretary - a pussycat really?
Home Secretary David Blunkett revels in his reputation as a plain speaking Yorkshireman who calls a spade a bloomin' shovel.

He patently believes his outbursts prove his is just as outraged and concerned about the issues as ordinary voters so, presumably, can be trusted to do something about them.

And he is always unrepentant when his remarks spark a storm of protest and Downing Street is forced to quietly distance itself from them.

His latest eruption has seen him attacked for suggesting people might take the law into their own hands over asylum seekers and that the issue is like a "coiled spring."

BBC News Online takes a look back at the broadsides from the so-called hardman of the cabinet.

  • On the Bradford rioters: "The maniacs who were engaging in this are now whining about the sentences they have been given."

  • On critics of government crime initiatives: "For every sentence, for every tough new law, for every sensible measure, there's some bleeding heart liberals wanting to get them off, get them out and reduce their sentence."

    David Blunkett
    Have I said too much?

  • On actress Liz Hurley's comments that New York was safer than London: "Liz Hurley wanted a policeman in every coffee-house - and that gives the game away in terms of her perception of where the problem lies."

  • On Liberal Democrats who objected to non-British terror suspects being imprisoned without trial: "[They are] stupid and have made a complete backside of the amendments to the legislation."

  • On the media: "The press is almost on the edge of insanity. I am considering hiding myself away in the Home Office to avoid the abuse and ridicule of the press. "

  • On asylum seekers: "Asylum seekers are swamping some British schools."

  • Suggesting Britain's Asians should only look for arranged marriage partners inside the UK: "We need to be able to encourage people to be able to respond, particularly to young women who do actually want to be able to marry someone who speaks their language - mainly English - who has been educated in the same way as they have and have similar social attitudes."

  • On race: "Ethnic minorities in Britain should adopt British norms of acceptability."

  • On hecklers at the National Union of Teachers' conference: "I've never known anybody so keen to deny progress... Hell's bells, if we can't celebrate that, you might as well all go home. Honestly, this is really a silly, silly nonsense."

  • See also:

    23 Jan 03 | Politics
    06 Sep 02 | Politics
    05 Sep 02 | Politics
    19 Jun 02 | Politics
    11 Jun 02 | Politics
    25 Apr 02 | Politics

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