The Rt Hon Lord David Blunkett
Lord Blunkett has served in public life for over 40 years. From Leader of England’s fourth largest city to Home Secretary at the time of 9/11 he has taken on some of the most challenging roles in politics. Few senior politicians have experienced quite so many ups and downs, and none have achieved high office having been blind since birth.
Growing up in poverty, David’s circumstances were made even tougher when at the age of twelve he lost his father in a work accident. Rejecting the dismissal of many, and with the help of evening classes and day release from work, he entered the University of Sheffield and went on to become the youngest ever councillor in the city.
He became leader of one of the country’s largest city councils with 40,000 employees and a £400m annual budget. With a degree in political theory, he also has experience of advising blue chip companies on the impact of regulation and legislation.
David went on to enter Parliament and held shadow portfolios in health, education and employment. Then as Labour Party Chair he became a key player in the development of New Labour.
After the 1997 Labour landslide David was appointed Secretary of State for Education and Employment covering education and skills from early years, schooling, post-sixteen skills and apprenticeships, higher education and equal opportunities. As Home Secretary during one of the most tumultuous periods in recent history he oversaw one of the most controversial departments with responsibility for counter terrorism, immigration and justice. He also served as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions where his responsibilities covered retirement income, welfare benefits, the development of Job Centre Plus and work programmes.
David stepped down as an MP after an impressive 28 years. After leaving the Commons, he not only continued his public service in the Lords, but was also appointed Professor of Politics in Practice at the University of Sheffield and Chair of the board of the University of Law.
David maintains a wide range of policy interests including social mobility, cybersecurity, and education. He has worked closely in an advisory role with chief executives and boards of some of the country’s main utilities and infrastructure companies. He also has roles with a number of charities and as a board member of the National Citizens Service Trust, he has had a long standing interest in citizenship education and the wellbeing of young people.
A regular writer and commentator in the media, David has published The Blunkett Tapes (sub-titled My Life in the Bear Pit) and appeared on Mastermind – where he chose Harry Potter as his specialist subject.
As well as giving an insider’s take on the political landscape, David talks with authority on managing change, social responsibility and the benefits of diversity alongside his own lessons in overcoming adversity. He is also an entertaining and surprisingly revealing after dinner speaker, with a fund of anecdotes about Labour’s years in power and life in Westminster and feedback includes:
“Authoritative, insightful, entertaining and delightful company” DAS/Omnicom
“We thought Gyles Brandreth would be a hard act to follow but we scored a result again. The speech was very genuine, poignant and relevant. He highlighted all the issues we asked him to and the feedback from our guests has been great. We are very happy.” Pet Food Manufacturers’ Association
“Well informed and perceptive to important issues.” Essex Independent Care Association
“Friendly and approachable, David’s speech was perfect for the occasion.” Sysmex
“David spoke with great eloquence and humour about his life experiences and there were some very clear, relevant messages for disabled colleagues at Lloyds in the audience. We have had extremely positive feedback from the attendees. We hope he enjoyed the event as much as we did.” Lloyds TSB
“It was such a difficult decision to choose our guest Speaker for the Partner of the Year Awards. I had never seen David Blunkett speaking in this capacity, and this was the first time we had run this event. Despite me being nervous on the day David put my mind at rest – he was wonderful. I was so pleased he joined us for the whole evening, his speech was entertaining, humorous, topical and energetic. As I looked around at our Partners it was easy to see how engaged the audience were and they were clearly having a great time. A huge success all round and David really contributed to this. I would definitely recommend him for other events.’” UK Oracle User Group
“I take this opportunity on behalf of myself and everyone at the BOHS as well as the delegates to thank David for his fantastic efforts and speech at our conference. We received many positives comments about his speech. People were really motivated by his willingness to engage with our specialist subject and his offer to engage with us to take some of our concerns and activities further and into parliament. David really made the effort to understand where we were coming from in the larger picture of health and safety in the workplace, he spent time speaking with us prior to the event to make sure he had the subject understood. He also used personal examples from his own personal life and work life to bring this to the floor. We are grateful for David’s time and will be making the most of his offer in the future. He was a warm and kind gentleman who brought a natural presence with him on stage. Great speech and thanks again.” British Occupational Hygiene Society
“The feedback from our debate on Europe last Wednesday has been hugely enthusiastic and immensely complimentary about our speakers! It will come as no surprise to you, David that your contribution was singled out as particularly outstanding! Your deep understanding of international political events and your pithy humour were greatly appreciated by the delegates. Thank you so much for agreeing to participate in what can only be described as an unqualified success. You were immense and we are very grateful to you!” Cantor Index