The allegations: tickets, cars and visa applications

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Indy Politics

VISA FOR THE NANNY

VISA FOR THE NANNY

The allegation: The Home Secretary fast-tracked a visa application for his lover's Filipina nanny, Leoncia "Luz" Casalme.

The rules: Using official powers as a cabinet minister to do a personal friend a favour is a sackable offence.

Blunkett's position: He flatly denies he bent the rules. He says he checked the document to see if it was in order. It did not go through his office.

Background: Ms Casalme, 36, entered Britain in July or early August 1999. She was not entitled to a permanent visa for four years, until late July 2003. Mr Blunkett is said to have helped obtain a visa in the spring of 2003. She was hired by Kimberly Quinn in 2002.

Mrs Quinn claimed Mr Blunkett sent his driver to collect Ms Casalme's passport. After a few weeks, no progress had been made, and Mrs Quinn asked Mr Blunkett about the visa. He allegedly told her: "Look, she would never have got it if it hadn't been for me, so she should just shut up."

The passport was returned to Ms Casalme with the permanent visa approved.

Verdict: Difficult to prove that it was "fast-tracked" given that it was close to the four years' legal term anyway. Mr Blunkett expects to be cleared.

SECURITY BRIEFING

Allegation: The Home Secretary told Mrs Quinn her parents should avoid Newark airport in New York hours before a security scare.

The rules: Secret intelligence should never be passed on. It would be regarded as a dereliction of duty by the Home Secretary.

Blunkett's position: He says he did not breach the Official Secrets Act. He gave Mrs Quinn information already in the public domain.

Background: Mrs Quinn's parents, who live in America, avoided delays at Newark with the helpful advice. It does not seem to have been a security breach.

Verdict: Unless the information was secret, it was indiscreet pillow talk. Difficult to pin down.

POLICE GUARD

Allegation: The Home Secretary ordered police to stand outside Mrs Quinn's £2m Mayfair home to safeguard her against May Day riots.

The rules: It is an abuse of power to order the Met to patrol for the benefit of the Home Secretary's friends.

Blunkett's position: He says that is paranoid nonsense: there were police all around the area because of the riots.

Background: Anarchists had threatened violence against capitalists on May Day 2002. Police were out in force.

Verdict: Far-fetched.

RAIL TICKETS

Allegation: Mr Blunkett gave Mrs Quinn two first-class rail tickets in August 2002 assigned to him for his work as an MP.

The rules: This could breach House of Commons rules, not ministerial rules.

Blunkett's position: He was treating Mrs Quinn as a spouse, like other MPs and their partners.

Background: MPs are allowed to provide a rail ticket for their spouse, at the expense of the taxpayer, for travel. It is vetted by the Commons, but whether she was properly allowed a ticket as a "spouse" is a grey area.

Verdict: Not a sackable offence, but could lead to a reprimand if proved.

OFFICIAL BODYGUARD

Allegation: Mr Blunkett took Mrs Quinn to Spain for a wedding accompanied by four security men and a driver.

The rules: The Home Secretary is routinely covered by Special Branch bodyguards when on government business.

Blunkett's position: He denies breaching the rules.

Background: Mrs Quinn claims he took little interest in official business that had been arranged for him.

Verdict: Unlikely to stick.

GOVERNMENT DRIVER

The allegation: Mr Blunkett used his government chauffeur to drive Mrs Quinn to his home in Derbyshire for weekend trysts.

The rules: Private or party use of ministerial cars is a clear breach of ministerial rules, and should be easy to check with evidence by the chauffeur, Barry.

Blunkett's position: Barry, his driver, would have been making the journey anyway on official business to pick him up or deliver red boxes.

Background: Their affair was at its height and Blunkett allowed his heart to rule his head.

Verdict: Could get a reprimand.

TEMPORARY PASSPORT

Allegation: Mr Blunkett put pressure on the American embassy to issue a temporary passport for William Quinn in May 2003 so Mrs Quinn and her son could join him on holiday in France.

The rules: Abuse of power to use influence for immigration purposes.

Blunkett's position: He denies improper calls to the US embassy.

Background: Mrs Quinn says there were a lot of terrorist alerts and she told Mr Blunkett she was having difficulty getting an American passport for her baby, William. Mr Blunkett is alleged to have telephoned the embassy personally.

Verdict: US embassy will not give evidence - difficult to prove.

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