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The Right Honourable
 Hazel Blears 

In office
27 June 2007 – 5 June 2009
Prime Minister Gordon Brown
Preceded by Ruth Kelly
Succeeded by John Denham

In office
5 May 2006 – 27 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Ian McCartney
Succeeded by Harriet Harman

In office
5 May 2006 – 24 June 2007
Prime Minister Tony Blair
Preceded by Ian McCartney
Succeeded by Harriet Harman

Member of Parliament
for Salford
Assumed office 
1 May 1997
Preceded by Stanley Orme
Majority 7,945 (35.2%)

Born 14 May 1956 (1956-05-14) (age 53)
Salford, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Political party Labour
Spouse(s) Michael Halsall
Alma mater Nottingham Trent University
Profession Solicitor
Religion Methodist

Hazel Anne Blears (born 14 May 1956) is a British Labour politician and the Member of Parliament for Salford. She served in the Cabinet as Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party Chair between 2006 and 2007, and Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government from 2007 to 2009, when she resigned.[1] Commenting on the announcement, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said that Blears had made an "outstanding contribution" to public life.[2]


Early life and education

Hazel Blears was born in Salford in 1956, the daughter of a maintenance fitter. As a young child, Hazel and her brother Stephen both played street urchins in the film A Taste of Honey which was filmed in Salford in 1961, when Blears was aged five.[3]

Blears was educated at the Worsley Wardley Grammar School on Mardale Avenue in Wardley, Greater Manchester then The Eccles (Sixth Form) College on Chatsworth Road in Eccles. She went to Trent Polytechnic, graduating with a BA (Hons) degree in Law, and later, the Chester College of Law in 1977.

Career outside Parliament

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

She stood in Tatton in 1987 against Neil Hamilton and in 1992 in Bury South where she lost by 800 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.

In the run-up to the 2001 General Election, Blears was a member and later deputy head of the Labour Party campaign team, a group of backbenchers tasked with campaigning around the country. This raised her national profile. Blears has been a supporter of the Lowry theatre and art gallery in her constituency.

Parliamentary constituencies for Salford and Eccles are being restructured for the next General Election after a recent Boundary Review, with her current constituency being abolished. Hazel Blears defeated Ian Stewart in the selection contest to be the Labour Parliamentary Candidate for the new parliamentary constituency of Salford and Eccles.

During her parliamentary career, she has acquired the nickname "Chipmunk".[4] [5] Fraser Kemp, writing in The Spectator, has subsequently dubbed her "the Iron Chipmunk", a play on the phrase "Iron Lady", often used to describe Margaret Thatcher.[6]


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. In this job she launched the Government's "5-a-day" campaign to get people to eat more fruit and vegetables.

Blears was promoted in 2003 to Minister of State at the Home Office, with responsibilities for policing, crime reduction and counter terrorism. 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.

Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government

On 28 June 2007, the new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown appointed Blears as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, replacing Ruth Kelly.[7] In April 2008 it was rumoured that Brown was planning a summer reshuffle in which Blears would be demoted.[8] However, when the reshuffle occurred in the autumn, it was confirmed she was to retain her position.[9]

Deputy Leadership candidate

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.[10] However, Harriet Harman won the election on 24 June 2007.[11]


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.[2] The media noted how, on the day her resignation was announced, she wore a brooch bearing the message "rocking the boat"[12] [13] On 12 June 2009, she expressed her regret at the manner and timing of her resignation in an interview with the Manchester Evening News.[14]

Ethnic minorities

In March 2005, while Home Office minister with responsibility for counter-terrorism, Blears implied that section 44 of the terrorism act would dis-proportionally affect the Muslim community. In reply, Ray Powell, President of the National Black Police Association, described the minister’s language as "intemperate and inconsiderate". "I think it is wrong of her to say they should accept it is used disproportionately. That comment would not be helpful and does not instill confidence within the Muslim community,".[15]

In August 2005, Blears suggested the 'rebranding' of ethnic minorities in favour of adopting US-style hyphenated titles such as Asian-British or Indian-British.[16] This proposal was quickly withdrawn by the Home Office, as the government moved to distance itself from the idea.

Hospital closures

In 2006, Blears joined in protests against the closure of hospital departments in her constituency, even though these closures were consistent with the policies of the government of which she was a senior member. Health Emergency's head of campaigns Geoff Martin said, "there are 29 hospitals up and down the country facing the immediate threat of cuts and closure to key services in 2007. Will Hazel Blears be joining demonstrators on the streets in each of those areas or is this just a classic case of "not in my back yard"?[17]

Other notable incidents

In May 2008, Blears mistakenly commented on BBC's Question Time that there were 3 million people unemployed in the United Kingdom when Labour came to power in 1997 (the official figure was 1,602,500).[18]

In April 2009, Blears was named in an email from Neil Hill, a disabled 56 year old pensioner, who received a £3000 legal bill from Blears's dept. On receiving the legal bill, Mr Hill hanged himself, directly naming Blears's actions as a contributing factor. Both Blears and the local housing authority who had attempted to impose a rent rise denied any responsibility for his death.[19]


In May 2009 The Telegraph reported that Blears had been claiming the maximum allowable expenses, to under a pound, for 3 properties, as well as for stays in hotels, £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, they also claimed that 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. It was claimed that she had made a £45,000 profit on its sale without paying capital gains tax.[20] On 12 May she volunteered to pay the £13,332 capital gains tax she had avoided on the sale of her 'second home.[21] It was subsequently claimed that Brown had ordered her to repay the sum.[22] However, on the day of her resignation from Cabinet there were rumours that her repayment of £13,000 was not for her alleged capital gains tax liability, but for another property, and that she had resigned before such rumours were published in the press.[23] The Daily Mail printed allegations that Blears 'flipped' her homes in London three times in one year. Flipping is a technique whereby Members of Parliament switch their second home between several houses, which has the effect of allowing them to maximize their taxpayer-funded allowances.[24]

in June 2009 the Police at Scotland Yard and the Crown Prosecution Service issued a statement regarding MPs' expenses, which stated that they had not found evidence of criminal activity and that it was 'highly unlikely' that MPs would face charges. The Police said that the incidents of flipping second homes to avoid paying capital gains tax was not a matter for Police investigation[25] .

Opposition in Salford

The Hazel Must Go! campaign, was a local campaign that called for Blears's resignation as Salford MP at the 2010 general election.[26][27] The campaign was supported by the Salford Star [28][29] .On Wednesday, 16 September 2009, a talk was held to gather support for the campaign. At the meeting, a talk was given by Martin Bell [30].

Personal life

She married Michael Halsall, a solicitor, on 21 October 1989 in Salford. They have no children. Halsall is a motorcyclist and introduced Blears to motorcycling; she is now a biker in her own right.[citation needed]

In 2005 Blears was a member of a parliamentary tap-dancing troupe known as the Division Belles. Other members included Caroline Flint, Beverley Hughes, Laura Moffatt, Meg Munn, Joan Ryan and Dari Taylor .[31]

Although brought up as a Methodist, she attends the Roman Catholic SS Peter & Paul Church in Pendleton, as her husband is Roman Catholic.[32]


  • Miss Hazel Blears (1956–1997)
  • Ms Hazel Blears MP (1997–2005)[33]
  • The Rt. Hon. Hazel Blears MP (2005–present)


  1. ^ "Brown pressure as Blears quits". The BBC. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "BBC News: Hazel Blears Resigns". The BBC. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Blears join battle to replace Prescott". The Independent. February 23rd, 2007. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  4. ^ "Hazel Blears resignation: brutal revenge of 'the chipmunk'". The Telegraph. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  5. ^ "Sorry, Mrs Chipmunk, but Salford doesn't want you back". The Mail on Sunday. June 5th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  6. ^ "How they are trying to discredit Blears". The Spectator. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  7. ^ "Brown appoints first female home secretary". The Guardian. June 28th, 2007. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Gordon Brown planning summer reshuffle to halt Labour slump". The Telegraph. April 23rd, 2008. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Reshuffle changes". The BBC. October 6th, 2008. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Blears to run for Labour deputy and admits party 'disengaged". The Guardian. February 23rd, 2007.,,2019516,00.html. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  11. ^ "Harman wins deputy leader contest". The BBC. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  12. ^ "Brown pressure after Blears quits". The BBC. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  13. ^ "The plot thickens: Hazel Blears resigns, and MPs prepare to ask Brown to go". The Times. June 4th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  14. ^ "Blears to face confidence motion". The BBC. June 13th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  15. ^ ‘Muslims can expect the police to target them, minister says.’ The Times (2 March 2005), p. 2.
  16. ^ "The UK's ethnic name game". The BBC. August 9th, 2005. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  17. ^ "Blears rejects hypocrisy claims over NHS protest". 24 December 28th, 2006. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  18. ^ "Hazel's claim 'in shreds". Channel 4 News. May 23rd, 2008. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  19. ^ "Blears shock at campaigners death". The Manchester Evening News. April 25th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  20. ^ "Hazel Blears, the Communities Secretary, facing fresh questions over flat sale in row over MPs' expenses". The Sunday Telegraph. May 10th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  21. ^ "Hazel Blears attempts to rebuild reputation with £13,332 cheque". The Guardian. May 13th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  22. ^ "Gordon Brown 'pursuing a political vendetta' against Hazel Blears". The Telegraph. May 21st, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  23. ^ "Hazel Blears's resignation due to capital gains tax avoidance on another property". The Telegraph. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  24. ^ "Cabinet ministers have made tens of thousands 'flipping' their homes". The Daily Mail. 2009-05-08. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  25. ^ "MPs to escape prosecution over expenses scandal as police say charges are 'highly unlikely'". The Daily Mail. June 5th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  26. ^ "Blears survives deselection vote". The Daily Telegraph. June 18th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  27. ^ "Bid to oust MP Hazel Blears". The Bolton News. September 8th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  28. ^ "Hazel Must Go! Campaign Launched". The Salford Star. June 13th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  29. ^ "Hazel Blears Salford anger". The Guardian. June 3rd, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  30. ^ "In Praise of Hazel Blears". The Guardian. September 17th, 2009. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  31. ^ "profile: Hazel Blears MP". The Gardian. August 5th, 2005.,9061,1542999,00.html. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  32. ^ "Blears reveals cameo role in classic movie". The Daily Mail. May 26th, 2007. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 
  33. ^ "Ms Hazel, Blears". Parliament, the stationary office. Retrieved January 15th, 2010. 

External links

Audio clips

Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Stan Orme
Member of Parliament for Salford
Political offices
Preceded by
Ian McCartney
Minister without Portfolio
Preceded by
Ruth Kelly
Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government
Succeeded by
John Denham
Party political offices
Preceded by
Ian McCartney
Labour Party Chair
Succeeded by
Harriet Harman


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Hazel Anne Blears, MP (born 1956-05-14) is a British politician and is the Labour Member of Parliament for Salford. She was Minister without Portfolio and Labour Party Chair between 5 May 2006 and 24 June 2007.Since 27 June 2007 she has served as Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. She is currently one of the MP's under investigation by the parliamentary commissioner for standards over inappropriate expense claims. On 3rd June 2009, she announced that she would be resigning from the Cabinet, to come into effect at the forthcoming Cabinet reshuffle.


  • Despite the fact that hundreds of thousands of people have died — and that is a tragedy — I still believe that it was the right thing to do.

External links

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Simple English

Hazel Anne Blears (born May 14, 1956) is an English politician. and is the Member of Parliament for the Salford and Eccles constituency. She was first elected in the 1997 general election as member for the Salford constituency.

She held several government posts under Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, including Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, up until the 2010 general election

She is a member of the Labour Party.


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