PM opens the way for spin doctor Campbell's return

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair indicated yesterday that he would be happy to see the return of Alastair Campbell, his former communications chief, during the next general election.

The Prime Minister said his former spin doctor was "a tremendous support" and he would take his advice again. The former director of communications, who left Downing Street last year after publicly criticising the BBC and the Radio 4 reporter Andrew Gilligan's coverage of the war on Iraq, has complained that he misses the close relationship with the Prime Minister and being at the centre of government decision making.

In an interview on the BBC's 'Breakfast with Frost' yesterday, Mr Blair said he had not yet decided whether to ask Mr Campbell to return to an election role. But "if Alastair wants to come and help then his services will be used".

"As you know, I mean he's rough and he's tough but he's someone with tremendous integrity," Mr Blair said.

Mr Campbell said in an interview with 'The Times' last week that he regretted leaving Downing Street when he saw the Prime Minister under pressure.

Mr Campbell said he was still one of Mr Blair's informal strategy advisers and would not write a book about his experiences as long as Mr Blair remained Prime Minister. Publishers are said to have offered him more than £2 million for an instant account of life alongside Mr Blair.