Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BLAIR BACKS THE QUEEN; I've Got a Great Story to Tell, Says the Butler

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

BLAIR BACKS THE QUEEN; I've Got a Great Story to Tell, Says the Butler

Article excerpt


TONY BLAIR today defended the Queen in the face of mounting criticism of her role in the collapsed trial of Paul Burrell, saying she had acted "entirely properly".

The Prime Minister also ruled out major constitutional changes, including taking away the monarch's titular role as the prosecutor, in the wake of her last-minute evidence which cleared the butler.

Mr Blair's robust defence of the Queen came as Mr Burrell spoke for the first time after his trial, promising to tell all about the sensational case and said: "I've got a great story to tell."

His agent, David Warwick, said the butler, who had been facing jail until the collapse of his Old Bailey trial last Friday, was fielding offers which would make him a millionaire, and added: "Paul Burrell will talk about what Paul Burrell wants to talk about."

Mr Blair's intervention in the growing row over the Queen's constitutional role which puts her above the law came at a televised Downing Street press conference. "I think this was a highly exceptional case, a unique case you might say," he said.

"The Queen acted, in my view, entirely properly throughout. As soon as she realised the situation, she passed on the information and the information was passed on to the Crown Prosecution Service.

"I don't think there is a case for changing the law so that the Queen ends up effectively being directly involved personally in these cases.

"I think it would be a mistake and I think it would be unfair to her."

The Prime Minister spoke after a series of calls for the Queen to be stripped of her constitutional protection from being compelled to give evidence in courts, and a warning that because of the Human Rights Act, she could not be above the law.

Mr Blair's most senior legal adviser, Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith QC, is to question the Director of Public Prosecutions over the collapse of the trial and seek a full explanation for the prosecution's failure. …

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