Is Tony Blair right to back his Home Secretary?
So far there have not been any polls since the media frenzy erupted last weekend on the Blunkett paternity affair. We might get a better idea on Tuesday when the December Populus poll in the Times should be out and hopefully there will be some Blunkett-specific questions.
The story has already kept the focus away from what should have been the two star attractions of the Government’s pre-election policy portfolio – the crime proposals in the Queen’s Speech and last week’s autumn economic statement from Gordon Brown.
But how damaging is the issue itself? Has a Home Secretary, the guardian of law and order in the country, an extra responsibility to have a private life that is above reproach?
For all Tony Blair tries to ring fence the private lives of his Cabinet is not there a significant section of the electorate who regard the siring a child of another man’s wife and cuckfolding the husband as being morally indefensible?
And is there not another section of the electorate that will be alienated by the lengths he is going to assert what could be portrayed as the very old-fashioned concept of “male property rights” ?
It will be fascinating to see if there is a gender split in the polls on the issues. The big question is how long this continues to dominate the headlines. The longer it is there the less the chance David Blunkett has of surviving.
The “Will David Blunkett go?” market has been available online but is no longer. Those who got on at 7/2 against him not being Home Secretary on January 1 2005 have a good value bet. Other General Election markets are largely unchanged.