01 December 2004
Home Secretary David Blunkett finds himself on thin ice as information about his ex-lover's nanny's fast tracked visa application hits the news in a big way. Blunkett says he is not guilty of any wrong doings, but an investigation will be launched shortly.
The Daily Mail has published letters from the Home Office to Leoncia Casalme where it says her visa application could take up to a year. Still, another letter received by Casalme a few days later says her application will be processed in 19 days and that she will be allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely.
Talking to reporters outside his office on Dec. 1 Blunkett said: "I wouldn't be standing here if I thought there was any doubt whatsoever about what I've done."
But Tory spokesman David Davis said: "It's extraordinary for someone to go from effectively a 12 month list to a 19 day one and it does imply that something happened, somebody intervened. Whether it was the home secretary or not we don't know."
Ex-civil servant Sir Alan Budd has been appointed by the government to review the handling of the visa application and examine all the papers but Mr Davis repeated that the investigation was neither sufficiently broad nor sufficiently removed from Whitehall.