Whitehall tries to gag former No 10 aide

Tony Blair's former chief economic adviser is in confrontation with Whitehall mandarins over a book he has written. Derek Scott is said to be intending to lay bare the "unbearable tension" between the Prime Minister and the Chancellor Gordon Brown during the run up to the Budget speech and other important financial announcements.

Mr Scott left Downing Street in December to join the accountancy group KPMG, after working for Mr Blair for more than six years.

He had planned to publish memoirs to coincide with the Labour Party's annual conference in September, but the Cabinet Secretary Sir Andrew Turnbull has intervened to demand passages that name senior civil servants be cut.

Mr Scott signed the Official Secrets Act and a confidentiality agreement when he took up his appointment in 1997. There are precedents for people who have worked in sensitive government posts having their memoirs vetted.

The possibility that Mr Blair would be embarrassed by the memoirs of a former trusted aide is unlikely to earn the Prime Minister any sympathy from old party activists, who regarded Mr Scott's original appointment as highly controversial.

Mr Scott defected from Labour in 1981 to join the now defunct SDP and run against Labour in the 1983 general election, helping deliver a formerly secure Labour seat to the Conservatives. He advised Mr Blair not to increase the top rate of tax.

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