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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 December, 2004, 14:14 GMT
Timeline: Blunkett resignation
Home Secretary David Blunkett has resigned after he was accused of "fast-tracking" a visa application for his ex-lover Kimberly Quinn's nanny. Here are the key dates in the controversy:

15 March 2003 - Leoncia Casalme, Kimberly Quinn's nanny, applies for indefinite leave for remain in the UK.

23 April 2003 - In a letter, Ms Casalme is told her case might not be resolved until January 2004.

28 April 2003 - Kimberly Quinn shows the letter to Mr Blunkett, according to the Budd inquiry. Later that week, one of Mr Blunkett's officials contacts the office of the head of the Immigration and Nationality Department about the case.

12 May 2003 - Ms Casalme is given indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

14 August 2004 - The News of the World newspaper reveals David Blunkett is having an affair with a married woman.

Mr Blunkett refuses to discuss the claims and insists his private life has no bearing on his role as home secretary.

15 August -The Sun newspaper names the married woman as Kimberly Fortier - who has since reverted to her married name of Quinn - the American publisher of The Spectator magazine.

16 August Mrs Quinn says she has no comment to make about the media speculation about her private life and appeals to the media to respect her privacy.

17 August - The Daily Mirror reveals Mrs Quinn is several months pregnant with her second child and is due to give birth early next year.

23 November -Newspaper reports suggest Mr Blunkett reportedly wanted DNA tests to show whether he is the father of Mrs Quinn's son and the child she is carrying.

27 November - Mr Blunkett denies allegations he abused his position to help Mrs Quinn's nanny obtain a British visa.

The Sunday Telegraph quotes an email from Mrs Quinn to friends in which she suggests the home secretary had "fast-tracked" the application for permanent residency in the UK from Filipina Leoncia "Luz" Casalme.

Mrs Quinn's husband, Stephen Quinn, breaks his silence about his wife's three-year affair with the home secretary, saying he "adores" his wife and saying the family will be together "for a very long time".

28 November - Prime Minister Tony Blair expresses his "full confidence" in Mr Blunkett.

The Conservatives call for a judge to be appointed to investigate the series of allegations made in the Sunday Telegraph.

Mr Blunkett announces he has requested an independent review of allegations that he misused his position in Ms Casalme's visa application.

Ex-civil servant Sir Alan Budd is appointed to carry out the review.

29 November - Mrs Quinn is admitted to hospital after stress caused by the revelations.

30 November - Downing Street defends the scope of the inquiry into allegations against the home secretary.

The prime minister's official spokesman says it is right that the review should focus only on the "fast-track" visa claims.

Number 10 says the Home Office would deal with the other, less serious, allegations.

Mr Blunkett admits he had been wrong to give a rail warrant intended for MPs' spouses to his married lover.

The home secretary's spokesman said he would repay the 180 cost of the train ticket to Doncaster, adding: "Having examined the detailed rules today he realises he has made a genuine mistake and will be repaying the cost of the ticket to the Parliamentary authorities and apologise for his mistake."

The Daily Mail publishes letters from the Home Office regarding Mrs Quinn's nanny's visa application.

A letter sent to the nanny in April last year from the Home Office says the application could take up to a year.

But another letter from the Home Office just 19 days later says the application had been approved.

Mr Blunkett's personal spokesman says: "The home secretary has done absolutely nothing wrong."

1 December - Attending an engagement at the UK Passport office, Mr Blunkett tells reporters he has done nothing wrong, saying: "I wouldn't be standing here if I thought there was any doubt whatsoever about what I've done".

Mrs Quinn's husband Stephen calls for a truce in their battle with the home secretary, saying: "I think it is in the best interests of the child and her that the matter is put aside."

But a friend of Mr Blunkett, Dame Elisabeth Hoodless, tells BBC2's Newsnight the home secretary is so determined to "have access to his child" that he is prepared to put his political career on the line.

2 December - According to the Daily Mail, Mrs Quinn had told her ex-nanny she had a "friend" who might be able to help with her visa application.

3 December - Mr Blunkett wins the first round of a High Court battle over access to Mrs Quinn's two-year-old son.

Mr Justice Ryder rejects a plea for the paternity hearing to be postponed until April on the grounds that Mrs Quinn's health was at risk.

He accepts the argument that the home secretary's relationship with the child he says he fathered could be damaged if there as a delay.

Mr Blunkett says he is "relieved" he can continue his bid to gain access.

5 December - Shadow home secretary David Davis says Mr Blunkett should quit if he is found to have influenced the visa process even indirectly.

6 December - Daily Mail reports comments David Blunkett made to a biographer in which he is highly critical of cabinet colleagues - the home secretary is forced to ring round to apologise.

9 December - Tony Blair goes out of his way to praise Mr Blunkett on a trip to Sheffield to highlight measures to tackle underage drinking.

15 December - Mr Blunkett denies fresh claims that he helped fast-track a tourist visa for his Mrs Quinn's nanny. But by 1800 GMT he has resigned.

21 December - House of Commons committee on standards and privileges upholds report from Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards saying that David Blunkett did break rules by giving his ex-lover a rail warrant intended for use by MPs' spouses.

Sir Alan Budd finds a "chain of events" linking Mr Blunkett to Ms Casalme getting leave to remain in the UK 120 days faster than the average.

But he is unable to say whether Mr Blunkett had sought special help for the nanny or had just been highlighting an example of the poor performance of the immigration directorate.

Analysis by the BBC's Andrew Marr

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