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Marr to grill Blair ahead of book

Tony Blair will this week submit to an hour-long interrogation by the BBC's Andrew Marr as he promotes his highly-anticipated autobiography.

The former prime minister will be out of the country for the book's publication on Wednesday, having been invited to a White House dinner by President Barack Obama in his role as Middle East peace envoy.

But before he flies out to the US, Mr Blair is to be interviewed by Marr, the broadcaster and former political journalist, for a special programme to be aired on BBC2 on Wednesday evening.

The grilling is billed by the BBC as the ex-PM's "first major political interview" since 2007, when he left Number 10.

Combined with the publication of his book, A Journey, it is likely to put Labour's 13 years in power under fresh scrutiny as the party's members prepare to choose their new leader.

Ballot papers in the contest to succeed Gordon Brown, who quit after May's general election, will start dropping on doormats the same day.

Mr Blair's memoirs have been shrouded in secrecy ahead of publication day.

He and publisher Random House have resisted the prospect of selling serialisation rights to a national newspaper and there have been no authoritative leaks of the book's contents.

However, Mr Blair is widely expected to seek to justify the invasion of Iraq and his closeness with former US president George W Bush - the two aspects of his premiership for which he attracted most criticism.

Besides Iraq, the book will also be pored over by political observers for new details about his often fraught relationship with Mr Brown, his chancellor and successor as premier.


From Belfast Telegraph