Tony Blair accused of being ‘war criminal’ by protester at Leveson Inquiry

15:50 28 May 2012

Former prime minister Tony Blair arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards. Photo: Max Nash/PA Wire

Former prime minister Tony Blair arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards. Photo: Max Nash/PA Wire

The Leveson Inquiry into press standards was interrupted today when a protester burst in as former prime minister Tony Blair was giving evidence and yelled “this man should be arrested for war crimes.”

The protester, who told reporters his name was David Lawley Wakelin, managed to evade security and access the court room through a secure corridor.

The 49-year-old, who said he was from the Alternative Iraq Enquiry, brought proceedings to a halt by hurling accusations at the former Prime Minister.

He was eventually wrestled to the ground by three men and ejected from the court room before being arrested.

Lord Justice Leveson called for an immediate inquiry into how he had got in.

The protester was escorted through the Royal Courts of Justice by security guards and was seen being driven away in a police van.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “He has been arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace.

“He’s currently in custody at a central London police station.”

During his evidence Mr Blair today defended his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, insisting he had never done a deal with the media mogul and claiming they only grew close after he quit Downing Street.

The former prime minister, who is godfather to one of Mr Murdoch’s children, told the Leveson Inquiry they had simply had a “working relationship” until after 2007.

Mr Blair said he had been in a powerful position, as prime minister, and Mr Murdoch had been in a powerful position as boss of a media empire.

“It was a relationship about power,” said Mr Blair. “I find these relationships are not personal, they are working, to me.”

Asked about his relationship with former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, Mr Blair was in qualified agreement with Ms Brooks’s description of it.

She has described formal, informal and social meetings with him and called him “a constant presence in my life for many years”.

Asked if he thought this was accurate, Mr Blair replied: “Yeah, if I take the whole of the relationship within government, but then I think I would say that about most of the senior political media people.”

He confirmed Ms Brooks had had access to him whenever she wanted it but stressed that all prime ministers would almost certainly have seen “media managing” as a major part of the job.

He never changed his policies to please the Murdoch press, he insisted, and had stuck to what he believed in on issues ranging from the trade unions to Europe.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Thursday, April 30, 2015
A swastika daubed on a poster promoting Simon Marcus.

Conservatives in Hampstead and Kilburn are calling in the police over anti-Semitic graffiti found daubed on posters promoting parliamentary candidate Simon Marcus in Queen’s Park.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Stickers claiming voting was against Islamic teachings have been put up around Manor Park

Stickers placed on lamp posts warning Muslims not to vote in the upcoming election have been condemned for copying ‘evil’ Islamic State teachings.

Friday, April 24, 2015
We have censored part of this image

Keith Fraser, the UKIP prospective parliamentary candidate for Hackney North and Stoke Newington has apologised after retweeting an Islamophobic cartoon which looks similar to Charlie Hebdo’s depictions of the Prophet yesterday morning.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Much loved poet and author Michael Rosen has been penning some sterling poetry on Twitter about Grant Shapps.

Thursday, April 16, 2015
David Dimbleby  Photo:  Jeff Overs/BBC/PA Wire

The five leaders not in government will debate each other on the BBC

Thursday, April 16, 2015
Struggling with who to vote for? Try one of these quizzes [Picture: Shuttleshock]

Completely undecided about who to vote for in the General Election 2015? You’re not alone - a whopping 33 per cent of British voters are unsure who to back. Fear not, we’ve compiled the best political quizzes to help you make your mind up.

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Pop on the most stylish eyewear around from Specsavers.

London eyecare specialists Specsavers are offering London24 readers the chance to win a £150 voucher to spend on stylish eyewear in the city.

Read more
A swastika daubed on a poster promoting Simon Marcus.

Conservatives in Hampstead and Kilburn are calling in the police over anti-Semitic graffiti found daubed on posters promoting parliamentary candidate Simon Marcus in Queen’s Park.