UK media waged vendetta against Cherie: Tony Blair

Former British prime minister Tony Blair said coverage of his family showed a fundamental problem with the press.

London: Former British prime minister Tony Blair has said that some journalists waged a ‘personal vendetta’ against his wife Cherie Blair, who took or considered legal action over media reports over 30 times in five years.

Blair told the Leveson Inquiry into Press standards that some newspapers were guilty of abusing power by making his wife the target of hostile and unbalanced coverage.

He said coverage of her and his family showed a fundamental problem with the press, where the line between commentary and reporting is “blurred”.

“Some of the papers, particularly the Mail group, took it too far and it turned into a personal vendetta,” The Telegraph quoted Blair, as saying.

Blair said that Cherie had hired lawyers to take or consider legal action on dozens of occasions between 2006 and 2011.

According to the paper, Cherie was strongly criticised in the media in 2002 when it emerged that a convicted confidence trickster, the lover of her closest adviser, had helped her negotiate a property deal.

Her autobiography also received a hostile reception for frank disclosures about using contraceptives at Balmoral and details about past boyfriends.

Cherie recently began legal action against the News of the World for allegedly hacking her phone in pursuit of stories.

Blair told the inquiry that senior figures at Associated Newspapers, which owns the Daily Mail, had persecuted his wife.

“It’s full-on, full frontal, day in, day out. That is not journalism, that’s abuse of power,” the paper quoted him, as saying.


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