Shields Gazette wins Blair scoop

Former prime minister Tony Blair spoke exclusively to The Shields Gazette this week, in his first interview since becoming Middle East peace envoy, writes Laura Balfour.

Foreign secretary David Miliband’s local paper was granted the sought-after exclusive ahead of national titles and broadcasters.

The meeting with Gazette reporter David Maclean took place on 14 November after Blair gave a lecture in South Shields.

Maclean said: ‘It was a unique opportunity to ask any questions. He had no idea what was going to be put to him.

‘He was frank and open, and spoke candidly about his decision to send troops to Iraq.”

When questioned about the cash for honours inquiry, Blair said: ‘We should just move on from that.

‘I don’t like raking over the past and having regrets – life’s too short

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