Blair backs down from PCC clash over pictures of Leo and Euan

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Tony Blair has backed away from confrontation with the media over this summer's unauthorised reports and pictures of his sons Leo and Euan, Downing Street confirmed yesterday.

Tony Blair has backed away from confrontation with the media over this summer's unauthorised reports and pictures of his sons Leo and Euan, Downing Street confirmed yesterday.

The Prime Minister, who arrived back at work yesterday after his three-week break, is unlikely to lodge an official complaint with the Press Complaints Commission, his spokesman said. The move follows a number of spats between newspapers and Downing Street over publicity about the Blair family in the past two months.

Mr Blair and his wife, Cherie, were furious with the press for printing photographs of Leo's christening last month in the Prime Minister's Sedgefield constituency without permission and threatened in retaliation to cancel the traditional annual holiday photo-opportunity session.

Lord Wakeham, the chairman of the commission, was called in and given the task of reviewing guidelines to clarify issues of privacy surrounding Leo. The Tuscany photocall was rearranged to prevent paparazzi photographers harassing the family, but more controversy ensued when newspapers printed allegations that 16-year-old Euan had been part of a group of youngsters running around in an Italian resort hotel late at night and making a lot of noise.

Having described the reports as "completely untrue", Downing Street was later forced to admit hotel guests had complained about noise caused by Euan and his friends. However, it still threatened to complain to the PCC, despite the papers reporting that Euan and his friends had immediately apologised for the noise and quietly gone to bed.

Mr Blair's spokesman said yesterday that he was more concerned with the situation in Sierra Leone and Northern Ireland than pursuing any press complaints. The spokesman said: "By and large, the summer was comparatively problem-free. Obviously there was the confusing situation in France regarding pictures and there was the picture arranged in Italy. Lord Wakeham said he was looking at the whole position. I sense that it is not top of the in-tray."

A spokesman for the commission confirmed that there had been no approach from Downing Street. "We have had no official complaint from the Blairs on any of these issues, but it is well known that we are going to be having discussions with them on guidance on coverage of Leo Blair," he said.

When Mr Blair arrived back yesterday, he held talks with officials on the latest developments in Ulster and the holding of 11 British soldiers in Sierra Leone by the West Side Boys militia.

Mr Blair has a hectic series of events lined up for him over the next fortnight. The Prime Minister is to hold a question- and-answer session with police officers tomorrow after the launch of the latest recruiting drive for forces across the country.

On Friday he is to attend the joint ministerial committee of ministers from devolved parliaments and Westminster in Edinburgh. The Prime Minister and his wife will then join the Royal Family for a traditional weekend at Balmoral.

Next week Mr Blair is to fly to New York for the United Nations millennium summit, where he is expected to have talks with President Bill Clinton and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin.

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