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Blunkett slams government drinking guidelines

Former Home Secretary David Blunkett has said his own government’s stance on alcohol is heavy-handed.

In an interview in the January 2008 issue of Decanter, the Labour member of parliament says the current government’s policy about responsible drinking exemplifies an overly cautionary position on a host of activities.

‘In October, we were told just about everything was bad for us,’ he said. ‘We were drinking too much, we were eating too much, we were doing everything too much.’

Blunkett said such messages risk being ignored.

‘If you frighten people to death and tell them that their two glasses a night is suddenly too much they’ll stop believing you,’ he said.

‘As Shadow Health Secretary for two years, I went to a number of health conferences and I found that medics never follow their own advice.’

The MP – who has been blind since birth – was talking during an interview about his love of wine, in which he discusses how his approach differs from that of a sighted wine lover. ‘I spend a long time just enjoying the aroma. People don’t give it long enough,’ he says.

Blunkett admits a particular affinity to Burgundy, but admits he has issues in coming to terms with the price of fine wine. ‘I have limits on my spending but they’re psychological really,’ he says. ‘It’s my working class background.’

The Sheffield MP was a long-standing minister in the Blair government. He was forced to resign as home secretary in 2004, returning as work and pensions secretary the following year. He resigned for second time in 2005.

Written by Maggie Rosen

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