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Blunkett faces favours charge

By Hasan Suroor

LONDON: Britain's no-nonsense Home Secretary, David Blunkett, was on Sunday struggling to defend himself against politically damaging allegations that he misused his official position to oblige his former mistress by "fast-tracking'' her nanny's visa application last year. He was also accused of abusing Government facilities during his relationship with Kimberly Quinn, publisher of the Spectator magazine, and `sharing' confidential information with her in the course of what media reports described as "pillow talk.'' Mr. Blunkett, who has grown-up children from a broken marriage, admits that he had an affair with Ms. Quinn but denies any wrongdoing. The Sunday Telegraph quoted friends of Ms. Quinn as saying Mr. Blunkett allegedly told her that the nanny would "never have got it (visa) if it had not been for me.'' The spokesman also denied that Mr. Blunkett disclosed any confidential information to Ms. Quinn or that he allowed her to access to official facilities such as use of his Government car. The Opposition demanded an inquiry saying these were `serious' allegations which could have an impact on his public life. Ms. Quinn, who broke off her relationship with Mr. Blunkett in the summer and went back to her husband.

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