This is the full text of Tony Blair's statement on MMR:

"In the light of what has been a horrible and unjustified attempt by two Sunday newspapers to drag members of my wife's family into the issue of MMR, I would like to say this:

"The reason we have refused to say whether Leo has had the MMR vaccine is because we have never commented on the medical health or treatment of our children.

"The advice to parents to have the MMR jab is one of scores of pieces of advice or campaigns the Government support in matters ranging from under age sex to teenage alcohol abuse or smoking, to different types of advice on a huge range of activities from breast feeding to safe play. Once we comment on one, it is hard to see how we can justify not commenting on them all.

"However, the suggestion that the Government is advising parents to have the MMR jab while we deliberately refrain from giving our children the treatment because we know it is dangerous is offensive beyond belief.

"For the record, Cherie and I both entirely support the advice as we have consistently said. It is not true that we believe MMR vaccination to be dangerous or that it is better to have a separate injection as has been maliciously suggested in the press, or believe that it is linked to autism.

"On the contrary, the vaccine which is used throughout the world prevents the spread of diseases that could, if contracted, cause very serious danger to children. Parents, including ourselves, can rely not on the advice of the Government's chief medical officer alone about the MMR vaccination but on the overwhelming advice from every reputable independent source including the World Health Organisation and the Royal College of Paediatricians. They can also rely on the overwhelming research that does find the alleged link between autism and MMR to be unfounded.

"I am only sorry that my wife's family has had their privacy invaded in a way that is not only wrong in itself but which, because the facts have been so totally distorted, can only be corrected by invading their privacy still further."