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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 November 2005, 17:23 GMT
Timeline: Blair's ministers who quit
MOST SIGNIFICANT MINISTERIAL RESIGNATIONS
WHO WHEN JOB WHY WHERE NOW
David Blunkett Nov 2005 Work and Pensions Potential conflict of interest over shares
Backbench MP
David Blunkett Dec 2004 Home Secretary Row over fast-track visa for nanny
Backbench MP
Andrew Smith Sep 2004 Work and Pensions To spend more time with family
Backbench MP
Beverley Hughes* Apr 2004 Immigration Minister "Unwittingly" misled people about a suspected visa scam. Returned as children's minister, May 2005
Alan Milburn Jun 2003 Health Secretary To spend more time with family
Backbench MP
Clare Short May 2003 International Development Iraq war
Backbench MP
Robin Cook Mar 2003 Commons leader Iraq war
Died in August 2005
John Denham* Mar 2003 Home Office minister Iraq war
Backbench MP
Lord Hunt of Kings Heath* Mar 2003 Health minister Iraq war
Returned as junior work and pensions minister, May 2005
Estelle Morris Oct 2002 Education Secretary A-Level marking row, admitted she was "second best"
Elevated to House of Lords, May 2005
Stephen Byers May 2002 Transport Secretary Good day "to bury" bad news e-mail row & Railtrack controversy
Backbench MP
Peter Mandelson Jan 2001 Northern Ireland Hinduja brothers passport row
EU Trade Commissioner
Frank Dobson Oct 1999 Health Secretary To run (unsuccesfully) for London Mayor
Backbench MP
Jack Cunningham Oct 1999 Cabinet Office minister Dropped in Cabinet reshuffle after months of speculation
Left Commons at 2005 general election
Peter Mandelson Dec 1998 Trade Secretary Home loan from Geoffrey Robinson
EU Trade Commissioner
Geoffrey Robinson* Dec 1998 Paymaster General Loan to Peter Mandelson
Backbench MP
Ron Davies Oct 1998 Welsh Secretary "Moment of madness" on Clapham Common
No longer MP, left Labour Party Jan 2005 for Forward Wales party
Frank Field* Jul 1998 Social Security minister Passed over for promotion
Backbench MP

*Not Cabinet minister


NOVEMBER 2005

David Blunkett
Mr Blunkett is the most senior minister to quit the government

David Blunkett quits for the second time, this time as work and pensions secretary, after being accused of breaking the ministerial code of conduct over paid work he took while he was out of the Cabinet.

He took a job as director of DNA Bioscience shortly before the May 2005 general election, without seeking advice from the relevant watchdog.

DECEMBER 2004

David Blunkett steps down as home secretary after his complicated personal life spills into the public arena.

His resignation was in the end prompted by the emergence of an email confirming his ex-lover's former nanny had her visa application fast-tracked.

SEPTEMBER 2004

Andrew Smith quits the Cabinet as work and pensions secretary following newspaper speculation he would be dropped in a forthcoming reshuffle.

Mr Smith said he wanted to leave his post "to devote more time to the responsibilities I enjoy in my constituency and to my family".

APRIL 2004

Beverley Hughes quits as immigration minister. Downing Street says she "unwittingly" misled people over her knowledge of lax visa checks on Romanian and Bulgarian immigrants.

Ms Hughes told a BBC interviewer she was not aware of the alleged scam, but it later emerges she was warned about it a year ago by a Labour colleague.

JUNE 2003

Health Secretary Alan Milburn quits unexpectedly to spend more time with his family.

The arch Blairite returned to Cabinet in September 2004, when he was given the job of organising Labour's re-election bid. After the election he returned to the backbenches.

MAY 2003

Clare Short becomes the fourth minister to quit over Iraq, although her decision comes after the US-led war.

It is prompted by anger at the way she believes the United Nations - and her own international development department - have been sidelined in the country's reconstruction, despite earlier promises to the contrary.

MARCH 2003

Robin Cook becomes the first New Labour cabinet minister to quit on a matter of principle.

He resigns as Commons leader over his opposition to the looming war in Iraq.

Home office minister John Denham also resigns over Iraq, saying he cannot back the government's invasion plans.

Junior health minister Lord Hunt of Kings Heath also resigns in protest at the government's policy over Iraq.

OCTOBER 2002

Estelle Morris resigns after mounting pressure over her handling of an A-level marking debacle. She says the job of education secretary is too important to have "second best".

A year later, Ms Morris returns to the front benches as a junior arts minister.

MAY 2002

Transport Secretary Stephen Byers resigns after months of pressure sparked by special adviser Jo Moore's e-mail suggesting 11 September was a good day "to bury" bad news as the United States came under terrorist attack.

He was later accused of misleading MPs over putting Railtrack into administration and over the resignation of media director, Martin Sixsmith. Mr Byers denied lying but said he had to go because he had become a distraction.

JANUARY 2001

Peter Mandelson
Peter Mandelson has two resignations under his belt

Peter Mandelson resigns for a second time, this time as Northern Ireland Secretary, after claims he had helped the Hinduja brothers, Labour donors, in their efforts to get British passports.

Mr Mandelson was later cleared by the Hammond inquiry of "improper" behaviour.

OCTOBER 1999

Saying he did not want to be a part-time health secretary, Frank Dobson steps down from the Cabinet shortly after announcing he is to stand for London Mayor, a contest he loses to Ken Livingstone.

In the mini-reshuffle triggered by Frank Dobson's departure, Jack Cunningham resigns as cabinet "enforcer" after constant predictions of his departure.

DECEMBER 1998

Trade Secretary Peter Mandelson resigns for the first time, as does Paymaster General Geoffrey Robinson, the man who secretly gave him a 373,000 home loan.

OCTOBER 1998

Welsh Secretary Ron Davies becomes the first cabinet minister to quit, after a "moment of madness" which saw him robbed by a male stranger on Clapham Common.

JULY 1998

Social Security Minister Frank Field resigns after Tony Blair decides not to give him the job of his boss, Harriet Harman, when she was dropped from the cabinet.




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