Ms. Blears, who controversially resigned from her position as Communities Secretary recently, has long been thought of as rather an ineffective politician - a poll amongst Labour MPs revealed that a mere 56% of them considered the Salford representative to be doing a good job. Others thought she was the worst-performing member of the Cabinet, and once her somewhat dubious expenses claims (three homes in a year, expensive hotels) and second home designations came to light she found herself in trouble - and was soon drowning in it.
Ms. Blears is a happy little pixie following last night's no confidence motion vote, which was defeated 33 to 12, allowing her to continue as Salford's MP.
By "flipping" homes, Ms. Blears was able to sell property and then claim expenses to cover the cost of Capital Gains Tax, which anybody selling a second home is liable to pay. She made a profit of around £80,000 on the sales but has paid back £13,000 since the Daily Telegraph began publishing details from its list of all expenses submissions. As if that wasn't enough, the manner of her departure from Government also had repercussions as she found herself widely attacked for choosing to go when she did, just prior to the European and UK elections in which Labour received a lower share of the vote than they have done at any point in their history. She had also attacked Prime Minister Gordon Brown's YouTube video, claiming that it was no substitute for knocking on doors and talking to the electorate, which caused a bit of a playground spat between the PM and herself.
It all became too much, and so she resigned - later claiming that it is decision she will regret for the rest of her life, making tearful apologies and blaming her rashness on "four weeks of intense media pressure." However, she subsequently faced accusations from all quarters that she had undermined the Government's chances of doing well in the election and had destabilised Parliamentt, which led to three wards of her constituency deciding to put forward a no confidence motion which - if successful - would have spelled the end of her career as a politician.
Last night, that motion was defeated with a vote of 33 to 12 against, with one abstain. After the vote, Ms. Blears said: "Now I've got a chance to rebuild and reinvigorate my politics a little bit about reconnecting with the people." However, local organiser Stephen Kingston has vowed that the MP is not yet out of the woods, promising that the campaign to deselect her will continue and saying that last night's defeat "shows the Labour party in Salford is completely and absolutely out of touch with their own voters."
Around 100 protestors chanted "Hazel out" outside the building where the vote took place. While Ms. Blears states that her success is a clear message "from party members that events of a few weeks do not wipe out 30 years of a record in local and national politics, fighting and being a champion for some of the poorest people in our country," she'll need to bear in mind that those protestors speak for a far larger percentage of Salford's population.
Politicians have gradually been losing what little real feeling and contact they ever had for the electorate - we can see this from their constant failure to, in our opinion, "get things right" and how many of them seemed as surprised as rabbits caught in the headlights as the expenses details rapidly blew up into the biggest scandal to hit the British Parliament in generations - this applies as equally to those involved in local politics as it does amongst MPs, and those 32 councillors that voted against Ms. Blears' deselection are no true indication of what Salford's populace is thinking.