With so many politicians spilling their guts in book format, the British Government was starting to get antsy about any secrets revealed or how bad they look. So they decided to create legislation that would curtail the publication of memoirs, diaries and biographies that “may cause damage to the confidential relationships between ministers” last September. Problem is, the Times reports, such legislation has been moving forward at so glacial a pace that one of the very books the new laws were designed to prevent from being published – the diaries of Alistair Campbell – will see the light of day in its original format anyway. The first serial run is expected sometime in July with volume one of the diaries published this fall.
The delay has outraged opposition politicians, who suspect that Tony Blair is personally delaying their introduction to allow Campbell’s diaries maximum room for manoeuvre. Chris Grayling, the Conservative frontbencher, said last night: “The Government now appears to have a completely cavalier attitude to the rules of Whitehall when it comes to looking after people who have been close to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. This is quite obviously a blatant attempt to delay things so that Alastair Campbell can get on with publishing his diaries without anyone intervening to stop him.” The Cabinet Office denied last night that the delay was connected to the Campbell diaries. “This is a complex area and we believe it is important to get it right. On that basis, we will respond in due course.”