Tony Blair and David Blunkett wrote letters to one another as the home secretary announced his resignation.
The text of the letters in full is below:
David Blunkett to Tony Blair:
It is with deep regret that I have this afternoon agreed with you that it is
best I step down.
I have put out a statement which sets out in clear terms why I
have felt this is necessary.
In making my decision we have carefully considered the damage my seeking to
remain in office may cause to the government.
It would be more than I could bear
if allegations which have arisen because of my private life were to over-shadow
the very real achievements of this government and this department.
Crime down 30% since 1997, with the chances of being a victim of crime at
their lowest level since 1981 and more police on our streets than ever before.
Immigration under control and asylum applications down over the last two years.
More offenders brought to justice and growing public confidence in the criminal
I am proud of these achievements and of the legislative programme which my
department is delivering and will continue to deliver.
Ours bills on ID cards,
serious and organised crime, drugs, offender management, and charities will,
together make a huge and lasting contribution to keeping our country, our
communities, and our citizens safe.
That is the key duty of any home secretary.
I have been proud to serve in your government and will continue to support
you, the party, and the government in any way I can.
Tony Blair to David Blunkett:
It is with great regret that I have accepted your resignation from the government this afternoon.
You have been a truly outstanding cabinet minister as both home secretary
and secretary of state for education and employment.
You have made real and
lasting change to Britain.
In the first term you put improving standards in education at the heart of
the government's agenda.
You fundamentally reformed primary school education. In
1997 barely half of all 11-year-olds were achieving the required standard in
English and Maths.
By 2001, thanks to the literacy and numeracy hours under your leadership,
nearly 75% were making the grade.
You also delivered record extra investment for
schools, teachers and pupils after many years of under investment which is
making a real difference up and down the country.
You not only met but exceeded our pledge on the New Deal, helped a million
extra people into work and laid the foundation for the record employment this
country now enjoys.
As home secretary you led radical change and reform to rebalance the
criminal justice system in favour of the victim. You delivered record numbers of
police and further falls in crime.
You championed the government's drive against anti-social behaviour that has
blighted too many communities in Britain for too long, helping to put respect
back on our streets.
And it is thanks to the tough measures you introduced on
asylum that applications are down over 40% and immigration is under control.
I have always valued your friendship and your honesty. The way in which you
have conducted yourself during the last few difficult weeks is a mark of your
You leave government with your integrity intact and your achievements
acknowledged by all. You are a force for good in British politics and can take
great pride in what you have done to improve the lives of people in this
And that is what we are in politics for.