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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 14:23 GMT
What happened to Team Blair?
By Nick Assinder
Political correspondent, BBC News website

They were known as Team Blair - the advisers and friends, spin doctors and Whitehall mandarins who surrounded the former prime minister, handled his relations with the media, plotted the infamous grid of events, offered policy and even personal advice.

Some left before their leader, some stayed with Mr Blair as part of his new team and others moved on when Gordon Brown's storm troopers entered No 10. But where are they now?


Perhaps the most famous of the lot - the communications chief who "spoke for Tony", bawled out ministers and the media with equal relish and was accused of spreading spin far beyond No 10 and throughout Whitehall.

Alastair Campbell and Tony Blair
Mr Campbell was a pivotal figure in team Blair
He left before his boss, in 2003 - shortly after the row with the BBC and the Hutton inquiry into the death of Dr David Kelly - saying he had already decided not to stay for the full second Labour term and that the "time was right" to go mid-way through that parliament.

The Hutton inquiry was treated to some tantalising extracts from his Downing Street diaries but, when asked when he would publish them, he declared: "You can rest assured that anything I write will be some time off."

He took a number of jobs, including writing a sports column for the Times and becoming spin doctor for the Lions tour of New Zealand.

His diaries were published amid some disappointment and mixed reviews in 2007, shortly after Mr Blair stood down.

He now fills his time writing on sport, giving paid-for speeches and working for his favourite charity, Leukaemia Research.

Suggestions Gordon Brown may be thinking of inviting him back into Downing Street to help him through his current troubles are, apparently, well wide of the mark or mischievous.

According to one recent story, Mr Campbell told a business website: "I was on a plane to South Africa last week and there was a form to fill in that had the category 'occupation', and I didn't really know what to put."


Mr Hill had a long history in the Labour party, notably as deputy leader Roy Hattersley's press aide during the years in opposition, before taking over the role of Downing Street's communications chief after Mr Campbell left.

David Hill
Mr Hill was appointed to repair relations with the media
It was during these years he first built up good relations with many political journalists who found him approachable, straight forward and reasonable.

His brief was to end the image of a Downing Street steeped in spin and to repair relations with the media, which had reached a pretty low point under Mr Campbell.

He did not give the daily, on-the-record lobby briefings but was always ready to talk to journalists - or ring them up to give them a flea in their ear when he deemed it necessary.

But his approach was far more measured than Mr Campbell's and he made very few enemies during his time in the post.

He has returned to a job he did between leaving Mr Hattersley and joining Downing Street, as director of the PR firm Bell Pottinger, run by Margaret Thatcher's favourite PR guru Lord Tim Bell.

Clients include Tottenham Hotspur, Rolex and Texaco.


Along with fellow civil servant Godric Smith, the former Northern Ireland Office pressman - who had impressed Mr Blair during a visit to Belfast - filled the bit of Alastair Campbell's job that required daily, face-to-face dealings with the media.

Tom Kelly
Mr Kelly played a straight bat
And what a change - out went the aggression, macho body language and four-letter expletives and in came the straight bat and the refusal to give a "running commentary" on just about anything. A true Civil Service approach to the job.

His rockiest patches were during Cheriegate - concerning Cherie Blair's dealings with conman Peter Foster - and the cash-for-peerages investigation, when he was kept out of the loop and, as a result, failed to tell hacks the PM was being interviewed by the police.

After a short break he has now been appointed by the British Airports Authority as group director of corporate and public affairs, handling, amongst other things, the controversial planned expansion of Heathrow.

He will also take responsibility for shaping the response to the Commons transport committee's recently-announced investigation into "The Future of BAA".


Another straight-bat civil servant who also assiduously avoided doing or saying anything that might see him accused of straying into party politics.

Godric Smith
Mr Smith apologised after being misled
Was widely trusted by political journalists who readily accepted an apology from him when he accidentally misled them over Cheriegate (no one doubted he had himself been misled).

He announced he was standing down from the post for a backroom job in 2003.

He spent some years in Downing Street until being given the post of head of communications for the Olympic Delivery Authority last year.


Anji Hunter had known Mr Blair from school days and held the job of director of government relations until the summer of 2001.

Anji Hunter
Ms Hunter was a fiercely loyal gatekeeper
She was a formidable "gatekeeper" to the prime minister - controlling who got to see him and when - and was widely, sometimes grudgingly, admired by the hacks for her organisational abilities and manner, despite her spiky side.

Often described as "the other woman in Tony's life" there was apparently no love lost between her and Cherie Blair.

She took up the post of director of communications with BP in 2002 but, following a shake-up at the top, she has now left the company amid speculation - roundly denied - that Mr Blair wants her to join his St James' Square office.


Baroness Morgan replaced Ms Hunter as Mr Blair's director of political and government relations in 2001.

Baroness Morgan
Lady Morgan kept a relatively low profile
She had a long history working for Labour under her belt and became Mr Blair's political secretary after the 1997 election.

She was often overshadowed publicly by Ms Hunter but was equally important to the prime minister as one of his "security blankets", whom he could absolutely trust.

She left in 2005 and went on to become a member of the Olympic Delivery Authority and an adviser to the charity Absolute Return for Kids.

In November 2005 she was appointed non-executive director of the Carphone Warehouse group.


The brother of Margaret Thatcher's trusted aide Lord Charles Powell (pronounced pole), Jonathan became a central part of the Blair team as the prime minister's chief of staff.

Jonathan Powell
Mr Powell was the only aide to last the course
He had worked closely with Mr Blair since 1995 and stayed with him right through his time in No 10 - the only aide to do so.

He once allegedly told Tory MP Boris Johnson that Gordon Brown was living a Shakespearean tragedy because he would never become prime minister.

Doubt was cast on the story because it was supposed to have happened when the pair coincidentally stopped their bicycles at a red light - something virtually no cyclist ever does in London.

It was announced earlier this month that he was to join investment bank Morgan Stanley as a senior managing director.


Lord Levy was the prime minister's tennis partner, close personal friend, Middle East envoy and fundraising chief.

Lord Levy
Lord Levy was at the heart of the cash-for-honours probe
The former music business impresario raised nearly 14m for Labour but was arrested in the cash-for-honours probe which blighted Mr Blair's final months in power.

He always insisted he was innocent of any wrongdoing and no charges were ever brought against him - or anyone else.

The millionaire businessman stood down from his roles when Mr Blair resigned and has since called for the public funding of political parties.


Ruth Turner replaced Sally Morgan as Mr Blair's head of government relations.

Ruth Turner
Ms Turner was arrested in the cash-for-honours probe
She had a long history working with the Labour party behind her, including on the ruling national executive, and was seen as a fiercely loyal but deliberately low-profile individual - that was until she was arrested over the cash for peerages affair.

In January 2007 police visited her home in the early hours and arrested her on suspicion of perverting the course of justice.

She always insisted she was innocent of any wrongdoing and the CPS finally decided there was "insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction against any individual for any offence" in the affair.

She also followed Tony Blair when he left office and is presently employed by the Blair Foundation.

Similarly, Matthew Doyle worked for many years as the Labour party's broadcasting officer in its London headquarters before moving in to Downing Street in the wake of Alastair Campbell's move.

He stayed with his boss when he left Downing Street and works in a similar, media role.


Perhaps not an adviser as such, but for a time Ms Caplin was a central part of the Blair household as Cherie's "lifestyle guru".

Carole Caplin
Ms Caplin was a controversial lifestyle adviser
The former model's commitment to alternative therapies and new ageish treatments quickly saw her the centre of media attention and any number of claims she was wielding huge influence over both Tony and Cherie Blair.

Alastair Campbell was said to have repeatedly warned the prime minister that Ms Caplin was a "problem" and she eventually became big news after introducing her then boyfriend, conman Peter Foster, to Cherie Blair.

He offered the prime minister's wife advise on the purchase of two flats in Bristol, leading to the "Cheriegate" affair.

Ms Caplin was eventually frozen out of Downing Street but, despite claims she was ready to tell all in a book, she has kept any secrets to herself.

She currently writes an advice column for a national Sunday newspaper, has written books about her health regime and runs her lifestyle consultancy, Lifesmart.


The man himself, Tony Blair, didn't hang around in the Commons or his constituency once he had been forced from office early.

After a decade in which his most controversial decision was to join the US-led invasion of Iraq, he has been appointed Middle East envoy for the "Quartet" of the UN, EU, US and Russia.

Cherie and Tony Blair
Cherie Blair was often dubbed Britain's first lady
There is talk he might become the first president of the post-treaty EU. He is making a mint on the international speaking circuit and has created the Tony Blair Sports Foundation.

He has also signed a highly lucrative book deal for his memoirs.

His wife, Cherie Blair wielded significant influence behind the doors in Downing Street.

It has been claimed she was the real Labourite in the household and, partly because of her own career as a barrister, had a high public profile which saw her mired in controversy more than once.

She has continued her career and there has even been speculation that Gordon Brown may make her Lady Blair.

And then there's the autobiography, due next year. Watch out Gordon.


These were the men and women who worshipped at the shrine of Blairism. Up to a point.

Alan Milburn and Charles Clarke
Mr Milburn and Mr Clarke were seen as ultra Blairites
Former minister Alan Milburn remains one of the most ardent and has made thinly veiled criticisms of Gordon Brown's premiership.

Along with another former minister Charles Clarke he created the 20/20 Vision website during the leadership campaign , denying it was an attempt to stop Brown or keep the Blairite flame burning.

He recently returned from Australia where he is credited with helping the successful Labour party election campaign.

Mr Clarke is said to have turned down a diplomatic job with Mr Brown although there are signs the previously strained relations between them are easing.

Some Ultras made it into the Brown government, notably energy secretary John Hutton who was even touted as a possible Blairite leadership challenger to Mr Brown.

Similarly, communities secretary Hazel Blears was once seen as the chief cheerleader for Mr Blair.

During her failed deputy leadership contest, however, she attempted to coin the phrase "no more Blairites, no more Brownites, we're all Labour".

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