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Fighting talk

Charles Clarke, who took over as Home Secretary after Mr Blunkett's resignation, has received an apology for remarks made in the biography.

The former education secretary said that Mr Blunkett - who had accused him of "going soft" and taking "his foot off the accelerator" - had accepted that the remarks were untrue.

Asked on Radio 4's Today programme why the outgoing home secretary had made them, Mr Clarke said: "Presumably because that is what he felt at the time.

But I am a great supporter of David Blunkett, I always have been."

He rejected Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott's view that Mr Blunkett was arrogant. "Every politician needs an element of self-confidence," he said.

"Perhaps over self-confidence."

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