POLITICS

David Blunkett Turned Away From Paralympics Opening Ceremony... Because He Brought His Guide Dog

01/09/2012 15:56 BST | Updated 01/09/2012 15:57 BST
AP
FILE This Wednesday Nov. 2, 2005 file photo shows Britain's former Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, David Blunkett, arriving at the Foreign Press Association in central London for a press conference where he announced his resignation from the post. On Tuesday, July 24, 2012, British prosecutors announced charges against eight people alleged to have been involved in a phone hacking scheme with more than 600 targets. Some of the prominent alleged victims of the phone hacking are thought to have included, Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt, Jude Law, Sadie Frost, Sienna Miller, Wayne Rooney, Sven-Goran Eriksson, Lord Frederick Windsor, John Prescott, as well as murdered 13-year old school girl who was abducted in 2002 Amanda "Milly" Dowler. (AP Photo/Jane Mingay, File)

Former home secretary David Blunkett has personally written to Olympic chief Lord Coe after he was turned away from his seat at the Paralympics Opening Ceremony because of his guide dog.

Blunkett, a Labour MP of 25 years, claims he instead had to watch the brilliant opening ceremony from a windy, exposed gantry rather than from his seat.

The MP was supposed to take his seat beside Paul Potts, a non-executive director of Channel 4 as a guest of the channel but was told there was no room for him and his guide dog.

According to the Telegraph, Blunkett wrote that: “We pointed out immediately that this was the Paralympics and that my name was on one of the seats, with the clear understanding that it was likely that I would have brought my dog.

paralympics opening ceremony

The incident ment Blunkett had to watch the amazing ceremony from a windy gantry

“I chose not to have a hissy fit. I felt that this was not an occasion to make an issue of the occurrence, not least because we were in the proximity of the broadcast media operation."

Blunkett, who has been blind since birth and is one of the country's most high-profile guide dog users, said he was eventually found an alternative seat behind the TV cameras "on a gantry exposed to an increasingly chill wind".

Blunkett insists that he was treated with courtesy and respect during the fiasco and that he has reported the incident to Coe to ensure his was a "totally isolated occurrence".

In response, Locog announced on Saturday only that: "We have spoken to Mr Blunkett about his experience and we are looking into what happened with our venues team."