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HARSH WORDS FOR THE PRIME MINISTER

From Harold Wilson's former press secretary Sir Trevor Lloyd-Hughes

THREE years ago Sir Trevor Lloyd-Hughes predicted Labour would be seriously damaged by its preoccupation with spin.

The recent depar-ture of press supremo Alistair Campbell and the furore surrounding the Hutton Inquiry has proved him uncannily accurate.

Sir Trevor was, after all, at the hub of government in the 1960s as press secretary to Harold Wilson.

He knew some of the world's great leaders and understood how important it was for Government to get its message across.

But he has harsh words for Tony Blair who he described as, "a foot-in-the-door salesman with no sense of history".

Sir Trevor said: "He has been putting a twist on things from day one. He has no sense of history and is interested only in staying in power and the next day's headlines."

Things were different when Sir Trevor was in charge of press briefings, he said. He had been a lobby correspondent for the Liverpool Post for 14 years before Harold Wilson poached him as his own press spokesman.

He described himself as poacher turned gamekeeper. "My relations with the press were always good. I had been one of them for 14 years, they were my mates.

"I had to build up a bank of goodwill. I explained to Harold Wilson there would come a time when you had to rely on them.

"I believed in telling the truth especially when things got difficult. Every government wants its actions portrayed in the best light but it is far, far better to say,'we have made a mistake'." Sir Trevor believes the current Labour government has destroyed goodwill.

Of Alistair Campbell, he said: "I know the type – typical noisy bully. He knows his press but I'm not sure whether he understands public opinion."

It was in a lengthy article in The Times more than three years ago Sir Trevor predicted problems ahead. At the time he wrote: "Blair is moving towards autocracy as well as isolating himself within a make-believe world where spin replaces substance."

Now 81, Sir Trevor is enjoying retirement at Castle Bytham with his adored French wife, Marie-Jeanne.

The couple entertained leading figures of the times in their heyday and are still sought out by journalists.

Together they are fascinating company.

Sir Trevor describes Harold Wilson as 'a great guy, very

special'.

Sir Trevor was given a 'gold key' which gave him direct access to the Prime Minister whenever he needed it.

Over the years he came to know some of the great politicians – Attlee, Churchill, Macmillan, Eden, Ted Heath and Margaret Thatcher to name a few.

When Sir Trevor returned to England after living in France, Mrs Thatcher sent him a note welcoming him back.

 
 
 

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