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Blair cancels book launch party

Tony Blair has called off a party to mark the launch of his new book, saying it would be "frightening" for his friends to have to walk past anti-war protesters.

Guests invited to the event, at the Tate Modern gallery in Central London, were told that it had been postponed, a spokeswoman for the book's publishers Random House said.

Campaigners against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had planned to demonstrate outside Tate Modern and criticised the gallery for allowing the party to be held there.

Mr Blair told ITV1's This Morning: "It is sad in a way because you should have the right to sign books or see your friends if you want to.

"But it was going to cause so much hassle. The people at the party tonight are friends - and some of them are not political at all.

"I don't mind going through protesters - I have lived with that all my political life. But for other people it can be a bit unpleasant and frightening."

The party would go ahead at some stage as a thank you to the people who had helped produce the memoir, he said.

It is the second time the former prime minister has called off an event after he cancelled a signing session of his memoir, due to be held at the Waterstone's book store in London's Piccadilly.

After cancelling the book signing the ex-premier said he did not want to subject the public to the "inevitable hassle" protests would cause or use up police resources keeping order at the event.

Lindsey German, convener of the Stop The War Coalition, who had planned to protest outside the Tate Modern gallery, said it was a "big victory" for the anti-war movement.


From Belfast Telegraph