Blairites fight back with release of Damian McBride aides' emails

 

Hundreds of emails sent between Tony Blair’s closest allies as he fought with Gordon Brown for the leadership of the Labour Party were released tonight in an apparent attempt to pre-empt the serialisation of Damian McBride’s book.

They revealed the convulsions within Downing Street in 2006 as the extent of the manoeuvrings by Mr Brown’s acolytes became apparent to Mr Blair’s key advisers.

They included the disclosure that Mr Blair apparently instructed his team to describe the attempt to topple him as “blackmail”.

The emails were released by Benjamin Wegg-Prosser, who was director of strategic communications in Downing Street in August 2006 when Brownites called for Mr Blair to step down immediately or to fix a date for his departure.

Mr Blair’s team sought to rally support from loyal MPs, but the exercise failed and shortly afterwards he announced that he would step down within a year. Mr Blair finally left Downing Street in June 2007.

The frenzied air at Number 10 during the summer of 2006 was laid bare by an email from Jonathan Powell, who was Mr Blair’s chief of staff.

It read: “We need to get people to start using the expression ‘blackmail’ as in we cannot have the party to give into the blackmail of a small number of MPs threatening continued instability while calling for stability.”

Mr Blair is recorded as having told one of his closest aides, Ruth Turner: “Although we may not have seen the back end of the machinations, we have seen the back of the pretence that this is not machinations. What has been exposed is that some supposedly very clever, but actually rather crude, operation, not some spontaneous uprising of MPs and public.”

Writing in The Guardian, Mr Wegg-Prosser – who is revealed in the emails referring to Mr McBride as “Damian McPrickface”, says: “When Labour returns to office, as it could do in less than two years, Ed Miliband will no doubt consider how the errors of the last generation should not be repeated by his. Drawing a line in the sand with the nastier politics of the Blair and Brown era, but not the sound policies, would be wise in my view.”

Mr Wegg-Prosser is now managing partner with Global Counsel, a strategy consultancy which is chaired by the former Cabinet minister Lord Mandelson.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Web Developer - PHP

£17000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity is now ...

Recruitment Genius: Account Executive - Graduate / Entry Level

£22000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This digital advertising infras...

Recruitment Genius: European Sales Director - Aerospace Cable & Wire

£100000 - £125000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As a top tier supplier to the...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Project Manager

£17100 - £22900 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the North West's leading...

Day In a Page

On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific
In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

In this the person to restore our trust in the banks?

Dame Colette Bowe - interview
When do the creative juices dry up?

When do the creative juices dry up?

David Lodge thinks he knows
The 'Cher moment' happening across fashion just now

Fashion's Cher moment

Ageing beauty will always be more classy than all that booty
Thousands of teenage girls enduring debilitating illnesses after routine school cancer vaccination

Health fears over school cancer jab

Shock new Freedom of Information figures show how thousands of girls have suffered serious symptoms after routine HPV injection
Fifa President Sepp Blatter warns his opponents: 'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

'I forgive everyone, but I don't forget'

Fifa president Sepp Blatter issues defiant warning to opponents
Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report

Weather warning

Extreme summer temperatures will soon cause deaths of up to 1,700 more Britons a year, says government report
LSD: Speaking to volunteer users of the drug as trials get underway to see if it cures depression and addiction

High hopes for LSD

Meet the volunteer users helping to see if it cures depression and addiction
German soldier who died fighting for UK in Battle of Waterloo should be removed from museum display and given dignified funeral, say historians

Saving Private Brandt

A Belgian museum's display of the skeleton of a soldier killed at Waterloo prompts calls for him to be given a dignified funeral