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Clarke gets black spot

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David Blunkett, UK Home Secretary and prime mover behind the British ID card scheme, resigned this evening after further revelations concerning the residency application of his lover's nanny. Emails seen by Sir Alan Budd's enquiry made it clear that - contrary to Home Office denials - the letter to the nanny warning of a possible 12 month delay had been dealt with by his office.

This was critical to Blunkett's defence. He had claimed that he merely checked over the initial application, and when over the weekend it was claimed that he had produced the letter from the immigration service in a meeting with senior civil servants, a Home Office spokesman insisted that he had had "no contact with the letter at all, at any stage."

In a statement tonight, Blunkett concedes that Budd's enquiry has identified "a fax and an exchange of emails between my office and the Immigration and Nationality Directorate" based on the letter that he had had "no contact" with. He says that he was "always aware"of this letter, "but did not remember holding a copy. I have no recollection of dealing with this in any way... I have no recollection of issuing instructions to deal with the application, but only to continuing the elimination of the backlog in general".

The email is reported to have said "no favours but slightly quicker." We at The Register feel that we would have trouble figuring out how that works even if we were sober. Which we are not entirely; but, since you ask, this evening's Privacy International Christmas bash went rather better than one could possibly have expected. Education Secretary Charles Clarke wins the ID scheme poisoned chalice. He commented that there would be continuity between his approach and Blunkett's; the immigration status of any paramours which Clarke may or may not have is not known at time of press. ®

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