Salford’s MP since 1997, Hazel Blears is proud of Labour’s record in transforming the city of her birth. She has helped bring hundreds of millions of pounds of investment in schools, housing and the NHS, and given greater powers to local communities.
Hazel held a number of senior positions during Labour’s time in Government.
Between 2003 and 2006 Hazel was Police and Counter Terrorism Minister and helped secure the return of the bobby on the beat by introducing a system of neighbourhood policing, which brought police and communities closer together. This period also saw her deal with the aftermath of one of the country’s largest terrorist outrages in the 7/7 and 21/7 bombings on the London Underground. She was responsible for the formulation of new counter terrorism legislation, steering it through Parliament and building relationships with the Muslim community.
From 2007 – 2009, Hazel was Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and was responsible for formulating policy and legislation to meet the needs of a changing society. During this period she had a particular focus on strengthening links between communities, and implemented the ‘Prevent agenda’ to tackle radicalisation. She also introduced the ‘Total Place’ approach, bringing together resources across health, local government and policing into community budgets to integrate services and maximise impact in local areas. Hazel fought the 2010 General Election on bringing jobs to Salford and giving communities a stronger say in running local services.
Since the election Hazel has been appointed to the Intelligence and Security Committee, responsible for the oversight of the UK’s intelligence agencies. She is the only female member of the committee and has developed a depth of expertise in national and international security matters.
She also cares passionately about helping people to live well with dementia – she is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Dementia and an Alzheimer’s Society ambassador. Hazel has called for a big push to improve diagnosis rates and to improve community support for those who suffer from the condition. She is hugely proud of Salford’s Poppy Day Centre and wants the area to lead the way in providing the very best support for people with dementia.
Hazel is determined to ensure that everyone has the same opportunities to succeed in life, regardless of their background. She is Vice Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Social Mobility and is on the board of the Social Mobility Foundation. Last year she established a scheme called Kids Without Connections, through which local businesses offer unemployed young people up to four weeks work experience in liaison with Salford City College and the Job Centre. The initiative is aimed at young people who do not have the family, professional connections or confidence to make their first steps into the world of work. Hazel was also the driving force beyond the establishment of the cross-party Speakers’ Parliamentary Placement Scheme. This gives participants the chance to do a paid nine month internship in an MP’s London office and they also receive help with their living costs. Hazel is campaigning to end the culture of unpaid internships in all walks of life because they restrict opportunities to those who can afford to work for free.
Hazel is 56 and has been married for more than 20-years. Growing up in the 1960s in a traditional working class street, she attended Wardley Grammar School in Swinton and Eccles Sixth Form College. Hazel was the first person in her family to go into higher education. She went on to become a senior local authority solicitor, and a local councillor for Eccles before becoming an MP. Outside of politics she enjoys motorcycling, dancing and gardening.