Blair calls in PCC over funeral reports

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Indy Politics

Downing Street lodged a formal complaint with the press watchdog last night over claims No 10 tried to alter the arrangements of the Queen Mother's lying-in-state in an attempt to boost Tony Blair's role.

Mr Blair's spokesman said the Press Complaints Commission had been asked to investigate reports in The Spectator, the Evening Standard and The Mail on Sunday. "Downing Street, Buckingham Palace, and the Westminster authorities have made clear the story is untrue and we had hoped to resolve the issue with a correction and apology in the three publications," he said.

"We regret they have all refused to do this and that we are forced to take this course. The Prime Minister has many things written about him which are untrue and which he lets pass, but the idea that he would seek to exploit the death of the Queen Mother is totally without foundation and deeply offensive." He said: "The story is untrue and the Prime Minister is determined [the publications] should correct it and apologise."

The Conservative MP Boris Johnson, who edits The Spectator, said: "We are confident in our story and will be fighting this all the way. I am very sorry [Blair aide] Alastair Campbell has taken this decision." Peter Oborne, the author of the report in The Spectator, said: "I am very proud of my story and stand by it."

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