Jonathan Oliver exclusive: The man who embarrassed Tony Blair over David Kelly

The journalist-turned PR man who asked Tony Blair if he had 'blood on his hands' following the suicide of David Kelly has spoken exclusively to PRWeek about the controversial episode.

Jonathan Oliver: TLG media relations director
Jonathan Oliver: TLG media relations director

Jonathan Oliver joined TLG as media relations director last year, having previously been political editor of The Sunday Times and deputy political editor of The Mail on Sunday.

In 2003, while working for The Mail on Sunday, Oliver was in Tokyo for a press conference with then prime minister Tony Blair.

At the end of the event, the day after Kelly’s suicide, he asked. ‘Have you got blood on your hands, Prime Minister? Are you going to resign over this?’

The clip of a shocked and speechless Blair was picked up by grateful TV news bulletins across the globe but Labour comms chiefs, including Alastair Campbell, were furious.

Until now, Oliver has not spoken publicly about the episode. Breaking his silence, Oliver tells PRWeek: ‘There was this extraordinary moment when Tony Blair stared at me, for what seemed like an eternity.’

Asked why he did it, he responds: ‘The Mail on Sunday was very keen that Tony Blair, who was then travelling, was put on the spot. I was told by the editor that the normal ethics or rules of engagement of the parliamentary lobby no longer applied and I had to do whatever it took.’

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