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Blind Pugh /really/ shafted


David Blunkett intimidated officials into fast-tracking a visa for his former lover's nanny, according to a senior Whitehall insider.

The affair has kept David Blunkett and his former lover in the headlines
The Home Secretary allegedly called a meeting over backlogs in applications and showed senior civil servants an official letter to the nanny saying she faced a 12-month wait.

According to the Sunday Times, Mr Blunkett is said to have "hit the roof" when the officials claimed they were clearing the backlog.

The insider told the paper Mr Blunkett used the letter to prove them wrong.

Following the meeting a Home Office official called the immigration headquarters and asked that nanny Leoncia Casalme's application should be "sorted", according to the insider.

The application was approved within days.

The insider - a senior official in the Home Office - told the paper: "Blunkett raised it by asking why there were all these delays. The answer came back that officials were working on the problems but that there weren't really any delays.

"At this point Blunkett hit the roof and threw the letter at (John) Gieve (the Home Office's permanent secretary) and said 'What about this then'?"

The allegation that Mr Blunkett fast-tracked the visa for the nanny of his former lover is the most serious claim in the fall-out from his affair with Kimberly Quinn.

Mr Blunkett's spokesman said today: "The only contact David had with the application was when he checked over the form initially. He has repeatedly made that clear.

"David's account of events is on the record, yet the person making these allegations is not identified, nor would it seem they have presented themselves to the Budd inquiry."

Former civil servant Sir Alan Budd is to carry out an inquiry into the claim.

Today it was revealed Mr Blunkett also said current Tory leader Michael Howard was a better Home Secretary than Jack Straw.

According to the Telegraph, the biography, by Stephen Pollard, says Mr Blunkett "respected one of his predecessors, Michael Howard, who was the first Home Secretary to try to reshape the culture of the department from being focused on slowing down the increase in crime to reducing it.

"But under Straw (Blunkett) felt things had not progressed as speedily as they should."
:p :p :p

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