Communities secretary Hazel Blears has stepped down from her post on the eve of local and European elections and an expected cabinet reshuffle.
Blears was condemned by Prime Minister Gordon Brown following revelations about her expenses claims - she avioded paying £13,000 in Capital Gains Tax from the sale of a second home, something Brown described as: “Totally unacceptable.”
Blears has since paid this money back. She says she now wants to go back to her roots.
In a statment she said:
“Today I have told the Prime Minister that I am resigning from the Government.
“My politics has always been rooted in the belief that ordinary people are capable of extraordinary things, given the right support and encouragement.
“The role of a progressive Government should be to pass power to the people.
“I’ve never sought high office for the sake of it, or for what I can gain, but for what I can achieve for the people I represent and serve.
“In this next phase of my political life I am redoubling my efforts to speak up for the people of Salford as their Member of Parliament.
“I am returning to the grassroots (where I began), to political activism, to the cut and thrust of political debate.
“Most of all I want to help the Labour Party to reconnect with the British people, to remind them that our values are their values, that their hopes and dreams are ours too.
“I am glad to be going home to the people who matter the most to me: the people of Salford.
“Finally, there’s an important set of elections tomorrow. My message is simple: get out and vote Labour.”