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Communities and Local Government Secretary - Hazel Blears

Hazel Blears became communities secretary in Gordon Brown's first Cabinet in June 2007, at the age of 51, taking over from Ruth Kelly. In Tony Blair's last Cabinet she was minister without portfolio as well as party chairwoman - a post she lost to Harriet Harman who also beat her and four others to win the contest to be the Labour Party deputy leader.

She first entered Cabinet after Labour's poor showing in the 2006 local elections, with the party suffering its biggest crisis since coming to power.

Ms Blears was a solicitor for several councils before becoming an MP in 1997.

She has worked as a parliamentary private secretary for Alan Milburn and Andrew Smith, and was parliamentary under-secretary in the Department of Health before being promoted to minister for policing and crime reduction in 2003, responsible for introducing the controversial anti-social behaviour orders and police reform.

Hazel Blears


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