July 22, 2005

Blair government announces ban of book by Blair's former "spin doctor" . . .


The former deputy to Alistair Campbell, Tony Blair‘s press secretary, has been told by the British government that he cannot publish his book about his time working at 10 Downing Street. According to Julian Glover in a Guardian report, Lance Price, a former BBC journalist who became known as one of Blair’s key “spin doctors,” has been “has been warned by the cabinet secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull, that his account of his time working at the heart of government is ‘completely unacceptable.'” While books have been censored by the Blair government before (see Monday’s MobyLives news digest), this incident “is believed to be the first time that the government has attempted to impose a blanket ban on the publication of such a book.” Price and his publisher, Hodder Headline, argue that, as he worked for the government from 1998-2000, he has no pressing or relevant secrets to reveal, but “He says he is happy to discuss possible changes and sent the text to the Cabinet Office for clearance.” His editor confirmed that publishing the book abroad “was one of the options.”

Dennis Johnson is the founder of MobyLives, and the co-founder and co-publisher of Melville House. Follow him on Twitter at @mobylives