As new reality dawns, friends predict a return after general election

Allies of David Blunkett predicted yesterday that he could return to the Cabinet despite his spectacular fall from grace after admitting that his office helped to fast-track a visa application by the nanny of his former lover.

Allies of David Blunkett predicted yesterday that he could return to the Cabinet despite his spectacular fall from grace after admitting that his office helped to fast-track a visa application by the nanny of his former lover.

As the former Home Secretary started his new life as a backbencher, some friends expressed concern that he would suffer bouts of the "depression" he forecast after his resignation. But they believed that he would bounce back both personally and politically.

One friend said: "He isn't going to go into some self-pitying hibernation. He will be facing up to the new reality." Mr Blunkett spent yesterday meeting staff in his House of Commons office before heading to his Sheffield Brightside constituency.

Allies of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, the man most likely to succeed him as Prime Minister, did not rule out a cabinet comeback by the former Home Secretary after the next general election - even though some MPs said that, at 57, he might be deemed too old.

He would have to resolve his tangled private life before returning to frontline politics. He is taking action in the family courts in an attempt to secure access to the two-year-old son he says he fathered during his affair with Kimberly Quinn.

At yesterday's cabinet meeting, Mr Blair paid a warm tribute to Mr Blunkett, saying he was "very sad" about his departure. The Prime Minister's official spokesman declined to speculate about a recall, adding: "We deal with one reshuffle at a time, but the Prime Minister did express his continuing admiration for David Blunkett."

Mr Blair has shown he is prepared to give a second chance to ministers who resign. Peter Mandelson was brought back to the Cabinet only 10 months after quitting as Trade and Industry Secretary, only to be forced out a second time. Stephen Byers, who resigned after a civil war at the Department of Transport, was offered a return ticket to the Cabinet this summer but decided to stay on the back benches.

Clive Soley, a former chairman of the Parliamentary Labour Party, said: "I do think David [Blunkett] could come back, and I think he should. My gut feeling is that he could come back after the next election. I do not think it could be before that election, but I think any time after that election is entirely possible."

Mr Soley said Mr Blunkett was popular among working-class communities and warned that his exit left the Government looking "more and more middle class". "If we are not careful, British politics will lose the sort of cross-section that we get at the moment," he said.

John Reid, the Health Secretary, said: "We fully understand why he made his decision. I think all of us just hope now that he will have just a little time in his own life to privately get things together. The rest of us now have to get on with the business of government."

Harry Harpham, the former Home Secretary's constituency agent, said he had no doubt Mr Blunkett would return to frontline politics. "I'm sure he will be back. He's too talented for them not to use his services. Tony Blair will miss him and I'm sure he will be called on again. I spoke to David last night. He was feeling low and disappointed, as you can imagine. I was surprised he resigned."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Life and Style
fashionHealth concerns and 'pornified' perceptions have made women more conscious at the beach
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Sport
Ojo Onaolapo celebrates winning the bronze medal
commonwealth games
Arts and Entertainment
Rock band Led Zeppelin in the early 1970s
musicLed Zeppelin to release alternative Stairway To Heaven after 43 years
Arts and Entertainment
High-flyer: Chris Pratt in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'
filmHe was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
Sport
Van Gaal said that his challenge in taking over Bobby Robson's Barcelona team in 1993 has been easier than the task of resurrecting the current United side
footballA colourful discussion on tactics, the merits of the English footballer and rebuilding Manchester United
Life and Style
Sainsbury's could roll the lorries out across its whole fleet if they are successful
tech
Travel
The shipping news: a typical Snoozebox construction
travelSpending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Arts and Entertainment
'Old Fashioned' will be a different kind of love story to '50 Shades'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Tracey Emin's 'My Bed' is returning to the Tate more than 15 years after it first caused shockwaves at the gallery
artTracey Emin's bed returns to the Tate after record sale
Arts and Entertainment
Smart mover: Peter Bazalgette
filmHow live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences
Environment
Neil Young performing at Hyde Park, London, earlier this month
environment
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Project Coordinator

Competitive: The Green Recruitment Company: The Organisation: The Green Recrui...

Project Manager (HR)- Bristol - Upto £400 p/day

£350 - £400 per annum + competitive: Orgtel: Project Manager (specializing in ...

Embedded Linux Engineer

£40000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: Embedded Sof...

Senior Hardware Design Engineer - Broadcast

£50000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Working for a m...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz