Clifford promises not to kiss and tell

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Having received an advance of £400,000 from Virgin Books, he hopes to make a similar amount in serial rights from one of the newspapers whose inner secrets he is in a position to reveal.

But with the bidding war not yet concluded, Clifford has upped the ante in an interview with today's Media Weekly in The Independent.

"There have been plenty of people out there trying to do a job on me," he says. "Particularly when I played a part in bringing down the last Tory government [by] revealing stories about Tory sleaze. A ... few editors of Tory papers tried to have a go. They were sending their reporters all over the world to ask about my days as a music PR."

Clifford challenges the tabloids to expose his past, saying: "It's amazing to me that some of the things I got up to in those years being involved with rock'n'roll haven't surfaced."

But he also talks of his friendships with newspaper editors and says that he will not be seeking to bring any of them down. "There will be one or two big revelations. But ... you can't be as lucky and enjoy life as much as I do and then want to have a pop at people."

Clifford admits that he is proud of the fact that some senior figures in public relations regard him as an embarrassment.

"Many in the industry are desperate to be respected. I'm not. Every time I give a speech I say 'PR's a wonderful game, it's better than working for a living'. They say it undermines them. But I don't mind."