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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 December, 2004, 21:08 GMT
Blunkett reaction - in quotes
The resignation of David Blunkett has been met with immense relief from some groups he dealt with as home secretary, and disappointment from others.

Here are some of the first reactions from his supporters and critics:

Immigration Advisory Service chief executive Keith Best

"The fact that a secretary of state had to resign over a matter related to an immigration application damages public confidence in the entire process.

"His resignation has done enormous damage to the Home Office. His policies have caused untold misery for some of the most vulnerable people in society."

Refugee Council chief executive Maeve Sherlock

"David Blunkett took a tough line on asylum and many of the measures he introduced, we profoundly disagreed with. In part, the success he has had in getting a tough grip in the asylum system has meant that many vulnerable people who need a place of safety are not getting protected.

"But on the plus side, David Blunkett spoke up for the benefits of migration into the UK and introduced a program of resettling refugees from camps around the world in this country."

Refugee Action chief executive Sandy Buchan

"We'd like to see [the new home secretary Charles Clarke] defend refugees from tyranny and oppression and uphold human rights both here and abroad.

"We'd like to see him trumpet the huge contribution refugees have made and provide a fair decision-making process within the asylum system."

Liberty director Shami Chakrabarti

"One always has sympathy for anyone experiencing personal difficulties. However, Liberty saves the bulk of its sympathy for the asylum seekers forced into destitution, the criminalised children and the people detained without charge or trial for three long years [at Belmarsh prison under anti-terror laws].

"These are the legacies of the most authoritarian home secretary in living memory."

Muslim Council of Britain spokesman Inayat Bunglawalu

"He'll probably be best remembered for two things: the anti-terror measures he introduced, which troubled many in the Muslim community; but also for his proposals to outlaw incitement to religious hatred and religious discrimination.

"We had some frank exchanges with him over the years but we also always found him willing to listen."

Association of Chief Police Officers president Chris Fox

"The home secretary was key to the current police reform agenda and its delivery. He personally battled to secure the best possible resources for policing and there is no doubt of his personal commitment.

"There have been some issues of concern for the service and we have had our disagreements, but always openly expressed."

Police Federation chairwoman Jan Berry

"David Blunkett will be remembered for supporting our call for community policing, giving us a record number of police officers and, at long last, putting victims at the centre of the criminal justice system."

Napo assistant general secretary Harry Fletcher

"He will be remembered as a home secretary who missed the opportunity to get to grips with the underlying causes of crime - poverty, poor education and lack of opportunity.

"It led to a soaring prison population - hopefully, his successor can bring common sense to sentencing."

Anti-ID card campaign group NO2ID's Phil Booth

"It is ironic that a man who was seeking to destroy personal privacy for everyone should be brought down by revelations from his own private life.

"Mr Blunkett is no longer answerable for the massively controversial ID card legislation that he has been trying to introduce with indecent haste. The bill should be dropped immediately."




BBC NEWS: VIDEO AND AUDIO
Charles Clarke talks to the BBC's Today programme


David Davis talks about Mr Blunkett



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