Paralympics visit upset for Blunkett

AN INVESTIGATION has been launched after Sheffield MP David Blunkett was refused entry to his seat at the Paralympics because he had his guide dog with him.

The London Games organisers are looking into how the former Home Secretary was denied access to his allocated spot at the opening ceremony.

Mr Blunkett, who was attending as a guest of Games broadcasters Channel 4, said he was told by a “stroppy and insensitive” official that he could not take up his allocated place because it was unsuitable for his dog, Cosby.

The Labour MP for Brightside and Hillsborough, who has been blind since birth and is one of the country’s most high-profile guide dog users, said that he was eventually found an alternative seat behind the TV cameras “on a gantry exposed to an increasingly chill wind”.

He said: “While in no way wishing to undermine the celebration of talent and courage displayed during the Paralympic Games, my experience shows how far society still has to go to change attitudes towards the challenges faced by people with disabilities.

“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.”

But he hoped the organisers had learned a lesson.