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Post  Panda on Thu 20 Jan - 17:51

Ruth Barnett, Sky News Online

Tony Blair's former spin doctor Alastair Campbell has talked to Sky's political editor Adam Boulton about the Iraq War inquiry - as the pair settled their election row.
The ex-Downing Street communications director and Boulton acknowledged the on-air disagreement that took place after the General Election, as the parties negotiated over forming a coalition government.

"I thought it was perfectly legitimate for (then-Labour leader) Gordon Brown to want to talk to (Liberal Democrat leader) Nick Clegg," Mr Campbell explained.

"You seemed to take offence at it, and you got really wound up."

Some people who actually really liked Tony Blair when he became prime minister... will never forgive him for Iraq.

Alastair Campbell on Boulton & Co

Mr Campbell said he "shouldn't have said" Boulton would rather see Conservative leader David Cameron in power, adding: "Apologies if I upset you."

Sky's political editor said he was sorry for a joke he made about the incident in his book and the pair laughingly shook hands.

Speaking ahead of former prime minister Mr Blair's return to the inquiry into the Iraq War, Mr Campbell said "rather him than me", because he found giving evidence "very gruelling".

"I don't think it's a terrible thing Tony's going back, if they feel there are more questions he's got to answer. It's a serious inquiry," he said.

Campbell: Rather Blair than Me

Mr Campbell said he would not speculate about what Mr Blair would say and refused to be drawn on whether he thought the former leader should be contrite.

"I think what Tony has to do, as he did the last time, is just set out the reasons why he made the decision," Mr Campbell explained.

"It is a long time ago but it is still incredibly fraught.

"People feel very raw about it even now and you're right that some people who actually really liked Tony Blair when he became prime minister loved lots of the things that he did for the economy, for schools, for hospitals, for Ireland, for Kosovo - they will never forgive him for Iraq.

"I think that's something, as a top global leader, he made the decision, he led the country to remove Saddam, and he has to live with that," he added.

Mr Campbell, who has republished extracts of his diaries in a book, also said he made remarks about Mr Brown, Mr Blair's successor, that he now feels he should not have.

He denied using the phrase "psychologically flawed" but added: "I did say things that frankly I shouldn't have done and I said things which I regret."

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