Sunday, January 15, 2006

Sleaze oozes from Blunkett's political grave

Blunkett can still make the headlines over sleaze, even long after his resignation:

The tape reveals how Naviede's company asked Blunkett for help in lobbying the Deputy Prime Minister, John Prescott, and the Chancellor, Gordon Brown. The company was hoping to profit from a change in complex VAT rules that govern the renovation of residential property and wanted local authorities to be 'encouraged' to sell them more council flats...

The Observer has established that Smith sent the tape to Blunkett in April. Smith then met Blunkett for a private supper to discuss these issues, two days before last May's general election.

Initially Blunkett's office and Smith denied that the issue had been taken any further after Blunkett returned to the cabinet after the election. But Blunkett has now admitted that as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions he sent a paper version of the tape to David Miliband, who had just been made Minister for Local Government in Prescott's department and had responsibility for housing and regeneration issues.

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