Belfast Telegraph

Home News UK

Labour braced for Blair memories

Labour is bracing itself for a fresh outbreak of Blair/Brown infighting with the publication of Tony Blair's eagerly awaited memoirs.

Mr Blair's office has refused to be drawn on speculation that the book, entitled A Journey, will include a scathing assessment of Gordon Brown's time in power and his responsibility, as Chancellor, for creating the conditions for the banking meltdown.

It is thought unlikely Mr Blair will use the book to endorse a candidate to succeed Mr Brown as leader, but all eyes at Westminster will be on a TV interview being broadcast on Wednesday for any hints of his views on the contenders.

The hour-long chat with Andrew Marr, to be shown at 7pm on BBC2, is Mr Blair's first significant TV interview on UK politics since he left Downing Street in 2007.

Unconfirmed reports suggest Mr Blair has privately said leadership candidate Ed Miliband would be "a disaster" as PM, and any remarks about the need to preserve the New Labour legacy are likely to be interpreted as a mark of support for his brother David.

Mr Blair himself will be out of the UK on publication day, attending the opening of Middle East peace talks at the White House in Washington in his role as the international Quartet's envoy.

Details of the content of the book are being kept a closely-guarded secret by publishers Random House ahead of its worldwide release at 8am on Wednesday. Unusually for a major political autobiography, no serialisation deal has been struck and review copies are not being sent out.

Attention will undoubtedly focus on Mr Blair's account of his stormy relationship with Mr Brown, as well as on his decision to take Britain into war in Iraq alongside the US.

Opponents of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are to stage a protest to mark the publication of what they branded "the memoirs of a war criminal".

The Stop the War Coalition said: "Rather than having his memoirs promoted, Tony Blair should be being held to account for the terrible suffering he has inflicted. His decisions took Britain into two wars that have had catastrophic consequences."


From Belfast Telegraph