Alastair Campbell

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Alastair Campbell (May 1957 – ) was appointed as the communications director for British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but resigned on August 29, 2003 due to his role in selling the 2003 war against Iraq.

In May and June 2003, he was at the center of a controversy sparked by BBC reports that he and other British government officials had "sexed up" its Iraq weapons dossier to justify the government's war plans. Campbell fought back by accusing the BBC of lying and demanding an apology. Blair himself called the allegations "as serious an attack on my integrity as there could possibly be."[1] The BBC, however, stood by its story.

The row over the allegations contributed to the suicide of the BBC's source and led to the establishment of the Hutton enquiry. The enquiry effectively cleared Campbell and led to the resignation of the chairman of the BBC's board of govenors and it's Director General, as well as of the journalist who made the original report.

The Hutton enquiry was attacked as a "whitewash" by both right wing enemies of the Labour government and anti-war campaigners.

The controversy included hearings before two British parliamentary select committees, the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee and the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Affiliations

Background

The BBC profile of Campbell summarizes his background before entering politics:

The partner of Cherie Blair's adviser Fiona Millar, Mr Campbell read modern languages at Cambridge. He made money by writing pornographic stories for the men's magazine Forum before entering journalism. By the age of 29 he had moved a long way from his roots as the son of a Pennine vet to become the news editor of a newspaper called Sunday Today. But the publication's launch faltered and the experience led him to a nervous breakdown. Campbell is said to have come out of the experience less brash, more disciplined and even more driven in his career. Around the same time he gave up alcohol - a step believed by many to give him the advantage of a clear head 24 hours a day to deal with the media. [2]

It is back!

A key new general election role for the former spin chief, and a fresh round of attacks on Howard are planned.

Tony Blair has appointed Alastair Campbell to a new official post in the Labour Party with a brief to embark on a fresh round of personal attacks on the Tory leader, Michael Howard. Mr Campbell's title is Head of Strategic Election Communications.
It is a dramatic return to full-time politics for a man who left the Government amid pledges by Mr Blair to abandon "spin". Mr Blair has acted despite what is widely reckoned to be serious damage caused by Mr Campbell's public battle with the BBC over the David Kelly affair. Labour declined to reveal what Mr Campbell is being paid but his salary in his former Downing Street post was around £120,000. A No 10 spokesman insisted that no portion of his current pay is to be met by the taxpayer.
—Andy McSmith and Francis Elliott, "Campbell back on party payroll to head Blair's 'dirty tricks' unit", The Independent, February 6, 2005.

SourceWatch resources

External links

  • Mind Ambassadors, organizational web page, accessed June 28, 2012.