Hacking trial: Milly Dowler's sister blasts Tony Blair for offering support to Rebekah Brooks


Media Editor

The older sister of Milly Dowler has accused Tony Blair of showing greater sympathy to former newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks than he did to the family of the murdered schoolgirl.

In a filmed statement issued by the press reform group Hacked Off at the end of the hacking trial, Gemma Dowler called for tougher regulation of the press and criticised the “incestuous relationship between our top politicians and the press”.

She said: “Tony Blair, the Prime Minister when Milly disappeared, didn’t phone us when he heard that Milly’s phone had been hacked. But when he heard that the police were investigating Rebekah Brooks, he phoned her to offer his support.”

The Dowler family’s lawyer Mark Lewis called on Mr Blair to apologise. “There really ought to be an apology from Tony Blair if he could be bothered to phone up the Dowler family,” he said. “He phoned up Rebebah Brooks and it was slightly worse than Gemma was saying in the film. He said ‘And by the way if I can help you with spinning this for Rupert [Murdoch] just tell Rupert to give me a call.”

In her video statement, Gemma Dowler criticised the new press regulator, the Independent Press Standards Organisation, which is due to become operational in September and said David Cameron had failed to honour his pledge to the family to introduce greater public protection against press abuses.

“This new fake regulator IPSO falls way short of Lord Justice Leveson’s recommendations and is nowhere near good enough,” she said. “Please keep your promise to us the victims that you will deliver real and permanent change to make sure what happened to us will never happen again.”

The film included images of David Cameron kissing Ms Brooks, who was cleared of phone hacking at the Old Bailey trial, and spending time with his former spin doctor Andy Coulson, who was convicted of the offence.

Mr Lewis claimed the press coverage of the jury verdict showed its “utter hypocrisy”. The Sun pictured its ginger-haired former editor Ms Brooks on its front page beneath the headline: “Great Day for Red Tops”.

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