Damian McBride, the media adviser to Gordon Brown whose new memoir reveals how he briefed against Labour ministers, has launched an outspoken attack on fellow former spin doctor Alastair Campbell's “spin stuff” over the Iraq war and the late weapons inspector, Dr David Kelly.
Speaking to the Huffington Post UK, McBride, the author of 'Power Trip: A Decade Of Policy, Plots And Spin', said "the reason Alastair has got that [negative] reputation, for right or wrong, is because of the perception that he played a crucial role in taking the country into an illegal war and playing a personal role in the pressure that was put on David Kelly".
McBride added that Campbell’s controversies would be remembered by the British public long after his own were forgotten.
“I think in the eyes of the public, if you ask in five years ‘do you still remember the spin stuff that took us into the Iraq war and resulted in the death of David Kelly?’, people will,” he told HuffPost UK. “If you ask them in five years, do you remember a single thing about [my] book, or the impact that it had… no one will.”
Alastair Campbell and Damian McBride aren't the best of friends
Campbell resigned in August 2003, in the midst of the Hutton Inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly, and later went on to publish best-selling diaries - and appear in various documentaries and on TV panel shows.
According to McBride, Campbell has suffered much less reputational damage because “he has done a very good job over the years making himself the person who has always served Labour governments loyally”.
The former Brown adviser added: “What I always find interesting about him, when you see him on [Sky One’s] ‘A League Of Their Own’, [is that] there must be a proportion of the public sitting there thinking, ‘What on earth are you doing on here when we still have bombs going off in Sadr City?’”
Asked by HuffPost UK to react to McBride's remarks, Campbell declined to comment. However, the latter last week accused McBride of breaking the law by leaking details of confidential government documents - a charge the former Brown aide denies.
You can read Mehdi Hasan's full interview with Damian McBride here.