Distinguished friends

Lord David Blunkett

David’s political career dates back to his election as a councillor in Sheffield at the age of 22, his leadership of the Council in the 1980s, and his election to Parliament in 1987. After serving on the Shadow Cabinet, he became Education and Employment Secretary in 1997, Home Secretary in 2001, and Work and Pensions Secretary in 2005. Since leaving government, in addition to completing his diaries, The Blunkett Tapes, David has undertaken a series of major pieces of work – on anti-poverty, affordable credit and social mobility – a review of the future role of the community and voluntary sector at the request of the then Prime Minister. He has chaired a major review of dedicated school transport, leading a Commission which recommended extensive changes; undertaken a review of police accountability for the Home Office which helped shape a subsequent Government White Paper; and served on the Speaker’s Conference which recommended substantial changes to improve representation in the House of Commons. As well as working on behalf of his constituency and contributing to a number of voluntary and not-for-profit organisations, David is now being a constructive thorn in the side of the coalition government. Indeed, following publication of National Volunteer Programme, a blueprint for a large-scale youth volunteering initiative, he founded the Future For Youth Foundation, a new charity that will create meaningful, supported eight-month volunteering and social action placements for young people out of work, education or training. In September 2012 he published In Defence of Politics Revisited, where he set out a range of proposals to increase faith in, and improve the working of, democratic politics. Most recently he was awarded status as an Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences.