'Million-pound F-word' boosts value of Campbell memoirs

The private diaries of Alastair Campbell have doubled in value overnight, say publishers, after extracts were submitted to the Hutton inquiry.

Leading players in the industry had estimated the memoirs to be worth about £1m in book and serialisation rights, but this has jumped to more than £2m, and may rise further if the Prime Minister's outgoing director of communications breaks his silence while Tony Blair is in office.

Toby Mundy, managing director of Atlantic books, said: "I've heard talk of three, four, even five million-pound deals. His serialisation and book rights are worth well over a million together, sales of the book will probably net him about £500,000, and because these diaries are said to be a million words long, it's possible we'll see more than one volume. There's at least another million to be earned there."

The extended versions requested by Lord Hutton on Monday gave the deepest insight yet into the workings of the Government in the days preceding David Kelly's suicide. The most significant was Mr Campbell and Geoff Hoon "agreed it would fuck [Andrew] Gilligan" if Dr Kelly was identified as the reporter's source.

The extracts were "hugely exciting", said Georgina Morley, director for non-fiction at Pan Macmillan. "Put it this way: I ran to buy my Evening Standard." Another source said the so-called 'million-pound F-word' was the "juicy, hot content" publishers would hope for from Mr Blair's friend and confidant.

Victoria Barnsley, chief executive of HarperCollins, and tipped to win the auction for Campbell's memoirs, said a no-holds-barred account would be "practically priceless".

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