Tony Blair And David Cameron Slammed By Milly Dowler's Sister For 'Incestuous' Press Relationship (VIDEO)

'Tony Blair Must Apologise For Phone Hacking'

Milly Dowler's sister has slammed Tony Blair for not supporting her family after it emerged the missing teenager's phone was hacked by the News Of The World (NoTW) - but instead rang Rebekah Brooks to offer her his support.

Condeming the "incestuous" relationship between Britain's top politicians and the press in the wake of the first verdicts in the phone hacking trial, Gemma Dowler said Blair should have supported them as he had been prime minister when Milly's phone was hacked in spring 2002.

She said: "Most important and damaging of all is the incestuous relationship between our top politicians and the press.

"Tony Blair, the prime minister when Milly disappeared, didn't phone us when he heard that Milly's phone had been hacked.

"But when he heard that the police were investigating Rebekah Brooks, he phoned her to offer his support."

She continued: "Three long years have passed since my meeting with David Cameron and the other party leaders.

"We were pleased that he was prepared to initiate the Leveson Inquiry into press ethics.

"However, I have not forgotten the promises that were made to my family and all of the other victims of press intrusion.'"

Revelations that the NoTW had hacked missing schoolgirl Milly Dowler's phone in sparked public outrage and contributed to the tabloid's closure.

The seven-month phone hacking trial heard how former the former chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck tasked private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack Milly's phone in spring 2002.

Rebekah Brooks, then editor of tabloid, was cleared of hacking charges by the same jury yesterday.

The trial heard how close she was to Blair - she sent him "terrified" texts on the eve of her arrest and he advised her on how to get through the stress caused by the scandal, including telling her to take sleeping pills.

The phone hacking trial showed how close Brooks and Blair were

The Dowler family's lawyer Mark Lewis said that while David Cameron had apologised to the Dowler family, former prime minister Tony Blair also owed them an apology.

"To be fair to David Cameron, David Cameron did offer the family a public apology when he met them. It might be that there is a second public apology in respect of what might have happened more recently," he told a press conference organised by campaign group Hacked Off.

"Yes I suppose there really ought to be an apology from Tony Blair if he could be bothered to phone up the Dowler family and say, 'look I'm sorry I was the prime minister at the time. This was on my watch'.

"He didn't phone the Dowlers when that came out, he phoned Rebekah Brooks.

"This was the prime minister who was meant to be representing the people, not representing News International."

Gemma Dowler (centre, with parents Bob and Sally), blasted Tony Blair and David Cameron for favouring the press over phone hacking victims

In the wake of yesterday's verdicts, Miss Dowler called for Cameron and other party leaders to implement proposals

made following the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

She said her family had stayed silent during the court case to make sure the defendants got a fair trial.

She said: "But now that it's over, I want to speak out about what I think should happen next to make sure that something good comes out of these terrible events.

"We have known for ages that serious crimes were being committed on a major scale in parts of the press.

"Ordinary people have suffered terribly from journalists who recklessly intruded into private grief and stole private information."

Lawyer Mark Lewis told a Hacked Off press conference that Tony Blair owed the Dowlers an apology

She branded Ipso, the new press watchdog backed by most of the industry, as "meaningless", adding: "This is just the newspapers looking after themselves.

"Something needs to be done to make sure what happened to my family doesn't happen again."

Quoting Cameron's comments made at the Leveson Inquiry - in which he said he would "never forget" meeting the Dowlers at Downing Street - she said: "Many of the victims, including my parents, had to relive some terrible tragedies when they gave evidence about press abuse.

"They did that in the hope and expectation that the prime minister would make sure things changed as he promised.

"Having gone to the expense of holding this inquiry, surely all the party leaders should now keep their promises and implement Lord Justice Leveson's proposals.

"My message to the prime minister and all the party leaders is this: This new fake regulator Ipso falls way short of Lord Justice Leveson's recommendations and is nowhere near good enough.

"Please keep your promise to us the victims that you will deliver real and permanent change to make sure what happened to us will never happen again."

The Verdicts

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