One of the UK’s most well-recognised politicians, David Blunkett made history when he became the UK’s first-ever blind cabinet minister. Over the course of his three decades in politics, he held a number of high-profile positions including Home Secretary, Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Secretary of State of Education and Employment. A key figure in Tony Blair’s Labour government for more than a decade, David is now one of the most insightful diversity and inclusion speakers on the circuit regularly discussing his own disability and how he didn’t let it hinder his journey to the top.
A hugely influential parliamentary figure, David represented his constituency of Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough for 23 years. In 1997 Tony Blair was keen to give him a significant role in his newly formed cabinet. Initially given the post of Secretary of State for Education and Employment, he is perhaps best known for being Home Secretary between 2001-2004. In this time he faced a number of challenges including the devastating 9/11 attacks, the implementation of heightened security measures and radically overhauling sex offences legislation.
Coming from humble beginnings, David was born into a working-class family in Sheffield. His optic nerves were underdeveloped due to a rare genetic disorder meaning he was blind from birth. Attending numerous schools for the blind in his youth, his lack of vision meant he struggled more than his peers, but David was determined to make a difference. At his diversity and inclusion speaking events David regularly inspires audiences with his exceptional personal journey and talks about how he’s coped living with a disability. Additionally, he expands on the importance of improving disability inclusion in all environments, especially corporate, and the benefits to businesses of encouraging a diverse workforce.
Since leaving the Commons David has moved across the hall to the House of Lords where he was awarded a life peerage for his contributions over the years making him Baron Blunkett. He also serves on a number of boards for the blind community including being the Vice President of the Royal National Institute of Blind People.
In his capacity as a diversity and inclusion speaker David can explain how he didn’t let his disability prevent him from excelling in his career and how business leaders can better support the success of their disabled employees.