Star opinion: City always came first

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In a political career spanning four and a half decades David Blunkett has made many friends and his fair share of enemies.

During his time as leader of the city council in the 1980s the then left-wing firebrand opposed the excesses of Thatcherism during a recession that was laying waste to much of the city’s traditional industrial base.

Later Blunkett occupied three of the top posts in the Blair government - including Home Secretary - where he gained new critics who attacked his style as inflexible and authoritarian.

But whether walking the corridors or power or simply grafting from day to day as a more humble constituency MP, the member for Hillsborough and Brightside has always had one abiding principle.

Sheffield, the home city he loves so dearly, has always come first.

Whether Blunkett was opposing attempts to curb the city’s financial muscle in the 80s, or during his time in government at the Cabinet table, Sheffield always had a powerful and eloquent advocate.

His has been one of the more remarkable stories in politics over the last half century, and one of Parliament’s few real characters. David Blunkett will be missed.