Europe South Asia Asia Pacific Americas Middle East Africa BBC Homepage World Service Education
BBC Homepagelow graphics version | feedback | help
BBC News Online
 You are in: UK
Front Page 
Northern Ireland 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

The BBC's Nick Higham
"Privacy does lie at the heart of this case"
 real 28k

Lord Falconer, Government Spokesman
"The only option in the circumstances was to go to court"
 real 28k

Ros Mark
"The book was only to be published with the Blairs' consent"
 real 28k

Monday, 6 March, 2000, 21:05 GMT
Blairs seek nanny memoirs damages
High court
The Mail on Sunday has pledged to fight the injunction
Cherie Blair's solicitors have released details of the High Court claim she is making over the publication of excerpts from a former nanny's account of her four years with the family.

The attempt to block publication of the proposed book by Ros Mark, or any part of it, follows an injunction on an article in the Mail on Sunday about her life with the prime minister's family.

Ros Mark
Ros Mark: "Devastated" [Picture: Mail on Sunday]
Ms Mark said on Monday that the paper had pressured her into talking to its reporters.

Mrs Blair is seeking injunctions against Ms Mark, her former agent Jonathan Harris, and the Mail on Sunday.

She is seeking to restrain them from disclosing or publishing any confidential material and to secure the surrender of all documents and computer disks which contain confidential material.

Mrs Blair is also seeking damages exceeding 15,000.

After being pressurised I reluctantly gave [the paper] my account of why I was writing the book

Ros Mark
Mrs Blair's solicitor said that the family would be stressing that Ms Mark had signed a confidentiality agreement when she worked for the family.

The prime minister's official spokesman denied it was a draconian move, saying it was simply a husband and wife attempting to ensure privacy for their children.

He said they wanted to protect their three children, soon to be four, who were growing up in unusual circumstances.

The spokesman said Ms Mark had written 450 pages about the lives of the Blair family, and it was important for them to know what was written, so that if another story emerged in six months' time they would know where it had come from.

He said Ms Mark had told the Blairs' legal representative that she had an extraordinary experience of working for a family suddenly living in Downing Street and had written about it as an important piece of social history.

Paper blamed

Ms Mark has accused the Mail on Sunday of pressurising her into talking to its reporters and said her book would only have been published with the Blairs' permission.

She said: "The book was written from a social history perspective as an account of an ordinary person living within an extraordinary household environment.

Ms Mark talked to us openly, confirmed she was seeking a publisher for her book and discussed its contents

Mail on Sunday statement
"The Mail On Sunday contacted me on 3 March asking for my comments, and after being pressurised I reluctantly gave them my account of the reasons why I was writing the book.

"I was subsequently offered by the paper a serialisation contract and fully-expensed hotel accommodation which I immediately declined.

"I agreed to have my photograph taken because I was told that if I didn't the paper would publish a photo of me trying to evade the press which they'd already taken."

Ms Mark added that the only people with access to the manuscript were herself and her literary agent, Jonathan Harris, and that she had ended her agreement with him the previous week.

No option

Lord Falconer, a close friend of the prime minister, said the newspaper had published the story despite knowing Ms Mark had signed a confidentiality clause when she began working for the Blairs.

He said the Blairs were left with no option but to seek an injunction.

And he disputed the Mail on Sunday's claim that it had not had an opportunity to put its side of the argument.

Lord Falconer
Lord Falconer: Rejected calls for privacy law
The newspaper has said that it intends to fight the injunction, which it described as "draconian".

Lord Falconer said a decision on whether the family should seek damages would be made in the next few days.

Ms Mark has said she no longer intends to publish her book about the four years she spent with the Blairs.

She stressed that she had been "devastated" by the row, insisting she had not intended any of her account to be printed without the Blair family's consent.

She insisted the Mail on Sunday had edited published extracts without her permission, blaming Mr Harris for passing on material.

However, he has denied any involvement in the publication.

The Mail On Sunday said Downing Street was aware of Ms Mark's book on Saturday and that she had offered the paper full co-operation.
Search BBC News Online

Advanced search options
Launch console

Privacy laws
Should personal lives be protected?
See also:

06 Mar 00 |  Talking Point
Is it time for a privacy law?
21 Dec 99 |  UK Politics
Blair plans press complaint
06 Aug 99 |  UK Politics
Blair lifts beach ban
24 Jan 99 |  UK Politics
Blairs angry over school story
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to other UK stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more UK stories