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Alistair Campbell's diaries released

By Gary Gibbon

Updated on 09 July 2007

Alastair Campbell has published his long-awaited diaries - billed as the inside story on the Blair years.

The weighty tome runs to some 350,000 words - a mere fraction of the two and a half million in the full, unedited version. But after the inevitable hype - has Mr Campbell revealed anything we didn't know?

You've heard the spin, you've seen the policies - now read the book.

Today, you get to see some of the diaries - under about 15% of them, the rest is under lock and key.

Some of it, the civil service said was too sensitive to publish, a lot Alastair Campbell has censored himself.

The bits you'd really like to read - about Iraq, about Gordon brown - remain locked in a safe.

Gordon Brown's is described as thunderous, a regular nightmare at reshuffle time, but you have to dig deep to find out much new.

There's a mention that in November 1997 Alastair Campbell talked to Gordon Brown about the Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone's £1m donation to the Labour Party, some three days before Gordon Brown denied any knowledge of the donation.

In January 2000, Blair announced a health spending target - Gordon Brown was furious said Mr Blair had stolen his main Budget announcement.

'We both reckoned Bush had been quite a lad in his youth, both on the booze and the birds front'
Alistair Campbell

Crawford Texas summit

Many believe that the The Crawford Texas summit - a year before the Iraq war began - was when Mr Blair committed British forces. Alastair Campbell's diaries give no clue as to what was agreed but do reveal this exchange between Mr Blair and Mr Campbell.

Campbell said: "We both reckoned Bush had been quite a lad in his youth, both on the booze and the birds front."

The world's first glimpse of Alastair Campbell's diaries came four years ago at the Hutton Inquiry into the death of the govt scientist David Kelly.

The judge Lord Hutton was told Mr Campbell had kept a diary and said he wanted to see it. Extracts were read out in the high court.

Satirists have always portrayed Alastair Campbell as the man who pulled Tony Blair's strings, when Mr Campbell caught Rory Bremner's show he wrote in his diary: ".. it was uncanny how he got some of my mannerisms, and the nature of some of the exchanges between me and Tony Blair."

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