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Swot Analysis Tesco

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David Blunkett has said he is "deeply sorry" for the embarrassment he has caused Tony Blair, after he resigned as work and pensions secretary.

He said he was guilty of making a mistake on three occasions and was now "paying the price for it".

Tony Blair described Mr Blunkett as a "decent and honourable man".

Mr Blunkett quit after breaking the ministerial code of conduct over paid work he took while out of the Cabinet. John Hutton is to replace him.

Michael Howard said the events showed a "haemorrhage" of Mr Blair's authority.

David Blunkett chose to resign because he had reached the conclusion that the position was untenable and that he would be unable to continue in his position

Prime Minister's official spokesman

Mr Blunkett was previously forced to step down as home secretary in December 2004.

At the centre of the recent controversy was Mr Blunkett's two-week directorship of DNA Bioscience before May's election, while he was out of the Cabinet.

Mr Blunkett broke ministerial rules by taking that job without consulting an independent committee which advises former ministers on whether they should take up jobs.

At a press conference in central London, Mr Blunkett told reporters he had been considering quitting since last week, but made his mind up to go on Wednesday "to protect the government".

'My fault'

He had been due to appear before the Commons work and pensions committee on Wednesday morning.

But instead he went to Downing Street to tell Mr Blair of his decision to resign.

"What I am clear about is that I have made a mistake," he said.

He should have consulted an advisory committee before taking up new jobs after leaving office for the first time in December, he added.

"Was I at fault not writing to the committee?" he asked. "Yes, I was. It was the same fault on three occasions arising from the same misunderstanding by me.

"I have to take the consequences of that, which is why I am standing down today."

'Blair is the target'

But he denied he had done anything wrong by buying shares in DNA Bioscience. "Having investments and holding shares in modern Britain is not a crime, declaring them is imperative," he said.

"I am deeply sorry for the embarrassment I have caused the prime minister," he said.

"It's the prime minister that some people wish to target. I wish to support him, I wish him to continue taking forward the modernisation."


After a promising ministerial start, his career lapsed into a series of incidents characterised by poor judgement

Michael, London

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Mr Blunkett said after speaking to Mr Blair, "Tony asked me to stay".

It was only while walking between Downing Street and Portcullis House, where he was due to appear before the work and pensions committee, that he could "smell and feel it was time to step away".



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