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Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 March, 2005, 09:39 GMT
Anger as Blair ditched for Pope
Tony Blair at his monthly media briefing
News 24 dropped this press conference for a Vatican update

A number of BBC News 24 viewers complained that coverage of the prime minister's monthly news conference was interrupted for an update on the Pope.

The channel ditched the Downing Street briefing on Friday, 25 February to go live to a Vatican spokesman for the latest on the Pope's health.

In response, News 24 morning editor Simon Waldman said: "We felt that the level of interest in the Pope's grave state of health meant that we should prioritise that over Mr Blair's monthly press briefing.

"However, we had intended to alert viewers to the fact that they could continue to watch the questioning of the Prime Minister via our interactive service - by 'pressing the red button'.

"In the event, we failed to remind them - and simply switched quickly from Downing Street to the Vatican.

"This was a mistake, for which we are sorry."


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