Blair's letter: 'You leave government with your integrity intact'

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Indy Politics

This is the text of the Prime Minister's letter to Mr Blunkett:

It is with great regret that I have accepted your resignation from the Government this afternoon.

You have been a truly outstanding cabinet minister as both Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Education and Employment. You have made real and lasting change to Britain.

In the first term you put improving standards in education at the heart of the Government's agenda. You fundamentally reformed primary school education. In 1997 barely half of all 11-year-olds were achieving the required standard in English and Maths.

By 2001, thanks to the literacy and numeracy hours under your leadership, nearly 75 per cent were making the grade. You also delivered record extra investment for schools, teachers and pupils after many years of under-investment which is making a real difference up and down the country.

You not only met but exceeded our pledge on the New Deal, helped a million extra people into work and laid the foundation for the record employment this country now enjoys.

As Home Secretary you led radical change and reform to rebalance the criminal justice system in favour of the victim. You delivered record numbers of police and further falls in crime. You championed the Government's drive against antisocial behaviour that has blighted too many communities in Britain for too long, helping to put respect back on our streets. And it is thanks to the tough measures you introduced on asylum that applications are down over 40 per cent and immigration is under control.

I have always valued your friendship and your honesty. The way in which you have conducted yourself during the last few difficult weeks is a mark of your character.

You leave government with your integrity intact and your achievements acknowledged by all. You are a force for good in British politics and can take great pride in what you have done to improve the lives of people in this country. And that is what we are in politics for.