Hazel Blears

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Person.png Hazel Blears   WebsiteRdf-entity.pngRdf-icon.png
Hazel Blears, June 2009.jpg
Born14 May 1956
Salford, England
Alma materNottingham Trent University, Chester College of Law
ReligionRoman Catholicism
SpouseMichael Halsall
Member ofIntelligence and Security Committee of Parliament
British Labour MP

Employment.png UK/Minister without Portfolio

In office
5 May 2006 - 27 June 2007
Preceded byIan McCartney

Employment.png Labour Party Chair

In office
5 May 2006 - 24 June 2007
Preceded byIan McCartney

Hazel Anne Blears is a former British Labour Party politician, who was the Member of Parliament (MP) from 1997 to 2015. She served in the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio and Chair of the Labour Party between 2006 and 2007, and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from 2007 to 2009, when she resigned.

Described as a "ferociously effective networker", she was a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament from September 2010 to March 2015.

Early life and education

Hazel Blears was born in Salford, Lancashire on 14 May 1956, the daughter of Arthur Blears, a maintenance fitter.[1][2]

Blears was educated at Worsley Wardley Grammar School in Wardley, Worsley and then Eccles College on Chatsworth Road in Ellesmere Park, Eccles. She went to Trent Polytechnic in Nottingham (now known as Nottingham Trent University), graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Law, and later, the Chester College of Law in 1977.[3][4]

Early career

Hazel Blears started her career in Salford as a trainee solicitor with Salford City Council in 1978. After two years, she went into private practice for a year, before joining Rossendale Borough Council as a solicitor in 1981 and in the same year she was elected as a Branch Secretary in NALGO.

In 1983 she became a solicitor for Wigan Metropolitan Borough Council and later became Manchester City Council's education solicitor. In the following year, she was elected as a councillor to Salford City Council and she served on the council until 1992. She was Chair of the Salford Community Health Council for several years.

Parliamentary career

Described by journalist Michael White as a "ferociously effective networker",[2] Blears stood in Tatton in 1987 against Neil Hamilton and in 1992 in Bury South where she lost by 788 votes. At the 1997 general election she was elected as the Labour MP for Salford, her home seat.

After the election she became the Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Minister of State at the Department of Health Alan Milburn until 1998. She spent ten months in 1999 as PPS to then Chief Secretary to the Treasury Andrew Smith.

Ministerial career

After the 2001 General Election, Blears entered Tony Blair's government as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health, responsible for Public Health.

Blears was promoted in 2003 to Minister of State for Policing, Security and Community Safety.[5] She was elected to the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party in 2003. After the 2005 General Election, on 7 June 2005 she became a Member of the Privy Council. In a cabinet reshuffle following Council Elections on 4 May 2006 Tony Blair appointed her Party Chair replacing Ian McCartney.

On 28 June 2007 the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown appointed Blears as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, replacing Ruth Kelly.[6]

On 24 February 2007 she announced her candidacy for the election for Deputy Leader of the Labour Party, making her one of six candidates for the job formerly held by John Prescott.[7] She came last out of six candidates. Harriet Harman won the election on 24 June 2007.[8]

Expenses scandal

In May 2009, The Telegraph reported that Blears had claimed the maximum allowable expenses, within one pound, for three properties, as well as for stays in hotels. She had also claimed £4,874 on furniture, £899 on a new bed and £913 on a new TV, the second such TV in under a year, and the maximum £400 a month in groceries, and many were said to be outraged that she was not prosecuted. Further, Blears had not paid capital gains tax on profit from the sale of a London flat. The property was registered as her main residence with HM Revenue and Customs, but Blears had been claiming MPs' second home expenses relating to the flat. She had made a £45,000 profit on its sale without paying capital gains tax.[9]

On 12 May, she volunteered to pay the £13,332 capital gains tax she had avoided on the sale of her second home.[10] It was subsequently claimed that Gordon Brown had ordered her to repay the sum.[11]

In Salford, her constituency, she was met by a number of angry protesters and stayed in a local hotel rather than at home.[12]

Following an investigation by Sir Thomas Legg, Blears was told to repay £225 in expenses in relation to a glass shelving unit for her London flat.[13]

Resignation from the cabinet

On 3 June 2009, the day before the 2009 European and local elections, Blears announced she would resign from the cabinet at the next reshuffle. The media noted how, on the day her resignation was announced, she wore a brooch bearing the message "rocking the boat"[14] On 12 June 2009, she expressed her regret at the manner and timing of her resignation in an interview with the Manchester Evening News.[15] Her resignation was one of several from the Labour cabinet that summer, with the government's difficulties compounded by poor results in the European elections and poor opinion poll results which were largely blamed on the recession and rising unemployment.[16]

2010–2015: In opposition

Blears was a member of the Intelligence and Security Committee of Parliament from September 2010 to March 2015.[17] Blears presented the committee's report on privacy and security, carried out following Edward Snowden's revelations about global surveillance by the security agencies, to the media.[18][19]

She stood down at the 2015 United Kingdom general election as she had announced.[20][21][22]

Later career

In May 2015 Blears became a director of The Co-operative Group and is a member of the Risk and Audit Committee and Nominations Committee, for which she was paid £60,000 a year for which she was expected a minimum of one or two days' work per month.[23][24] In 2016 Blears was appointed Chair of the Social Investment Business.[25] She has also had roles as Chair of the Institute for Dementia at the University of Salford, as an ambassador for the Alzheimer's Society, and as a trustee of the Social Mobility Foundation.[26] In September 2020, Blears was appointed as "Social Value Specialist" for the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority[27]


Related Document

TitleTypePublication dateAuthor(s)Description
Document:Letter to Sir Keir from a newly resigned member of the Labour PartyLetter8 April 2020Bronagh WilsonThe Labour Party is now dead, it has ceased to be, it is bereft of life. You Sir Keir and your fellow travellers disgust me and it is time you PASOKed right off!.


  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20090606210847/http://www.newstatesman.com/uk-politics/2007/03/labour-party-blears-deputy
  2. a b https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2005/aug/05/labour.politics
  3. https://web.archive.org/web/20090507183005/http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/politics/article6216658.ece
  4. https://web.archive.org/web/20130530104925/http://www.stnlive.info/case-studies/the-rt-hon-hazel-blears-mp-visit-to-carillion-skills-centre.aspx
  5. https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/home-office-z8x8szn5lx3
  6. https://web.archive.org/web/20140331181948/http://www.theguardian.com/society/2007/jun/28/publicservices.politics
  7. https://web.archive.org/web/20081020024831/http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2007/feb/23/uk.labourdeputy
  8. https://web.archive.org/web/20081220203749/http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/6234692.stm
  9. https://web.archive.org/web/20100605160834/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5301703/Hazel-Blears-facing-fresh-questions-over-flat-sale-MPs-expenses.html
  10. https://web.archive.org/web/20090516165543/http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/13/mps-expenses-hazel-blears
  11. https://web.archive.org/web/20110629143915/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/mps-expenses/5364423/Gordon-Brown-pursuing-a-political-vendetta-against-Hazel-Blears-MPs-expenses.html
  12. https://web.archive.org/web/20130525170939/http://www.salfordstar.com/article.asp?id=188
  13. https://web.archive.org/web/20121112160426/http://menmedia.co.uk/manchestereveningnews/news/s/1171105_blears_told_to_pay_225_in_expenses_row
  14. https://web.archive.org/web/20090607090351/http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8081141.stm
  15. https://web.archive.org/web/20090615180455/http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/8097955.stm
  16. https://web.archive.org/web/20100513074445/http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/politics/election_2010/8673608.stm
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20171201032110/https://www.parliament.uk/biographies/commons/hazel-blears/456
  18. https://web.archive.org/web/20180103193612/https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/mar/12/john-craces-sketch-intelligence-agencies-cleared-surveillance-parliamentary-committee
  19. https://web.archive.org/web/20180104013653/http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/hazel-blears-says-security-committee-did-know-the-scope-of-gchq-snooping-8928888.html
  20. https://web.archive.org/web/20140221081441/http://www.itv.com/news/story/2014-02-20/hazel-blears-to-step-down-as-mp/
  21. https://web.archive.org/web/20140526230025/http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/politics/labour/10652513/Expenses-MP-Hazel-Blears-to-quit-Commons-in-2015.html%7Carchive-date=26 May 2014
  22. https://web.archive.org/web/20090514061824/http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-26282509 |archive-date=14 May 2009
  23. https://web.archive.org/web/20181026102740/https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-manchester-32804261
  24. https://web.archive.org/web/20171231212551/https://www.co-operative.coop/about-us/hazel-blears
  25. https://web.archive.org/web/20180103193529/https://www.thirdsector.co.uk/hazel-blears-appointed-chair-social-investment-business/finance/article/1381180
  26. https://web.archive.org/web/20171231212551/https://www.co-operative.coop/about-us/hazel-blears
  27. https://www.cumbriacrack.com/2020/09/10/nda-announces-social-value-specialist/
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