British Home Secretary David Blunkett resigned tonight after an e-mail emerged showing that a visa application for his ex-lover's nanny had been fast-tracked by his office.
Education Secretary Charles Clarke has been appointed as the new Home Secretary, the Prime Minister's office announced.
Sir Alan Budd, former civil servant appointed to investigate allegations that Blunkett intervened in the visa application of the nanny of his former lover, informed him that he had discovered an exchange of emails between his office and that of the immigration service, reports Hindustan Times.
The resignation robs Blair of one of his key lieutenants only months before a general election expected in May next year, and bookmakers immediately increased the predicted odds of him winning a third term in office.
Blunkett had proved "a force for good in British politics", &to=http:// english.pravda.ru/diplomatic/2002/10/12/38071.html ' target=_blank>Blair said in statement accepting the resignation.
"You leave government with your integrity intact and your achievements acknowledged by all," the prime minister said, wrote the Turkish Press.
MPs and pressure groups all accepted Mr Blunkett’s departure with regret – but acknowledged the inevitability of his resignation.
The Home Secretary made no secret of the emotional turmoil involved in his departure when he toured the TV studios.
In a series of interviews he said: "If I was ever going to see my youngest son again, if I was ever going to hold him as I did as a baby in my arms, there were going to be consequences.
"I hadn’t fully grasped the enormity of those consequences. But in time people will understand what I have been through, what I am prepared to go through, what I was prepared to sacrifice along with my three elder sons for that little boy."
Mr Blunkett added, in a poignant aside, that he had "misunderstood" the relationship he had with Mrs Quinn.
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