The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

That slightly balances it up.

Secondly, this morning I Googled other papers around that time to see whether the Sun was untypical of what was being said at the time, because of course they selected the Sun out of the rest of them. I haven't had time to give you this, but, for instance, if you look at some of the Mirror articles at the time:

"With two-thirds of the Cabinet also away on holiday, it was left to Home Secretary John Reid and Transport Secretary Douglas Alexander to deal with the situation" -- bear with me if you would.

"The man supposed to be in charge of the country, disgraced Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, found himself completely sidelined."

And so on and so forth.

If you look at the Daily Record, part of the Mirror Group as well around this time, it was pointing out the role that I had played and diminishing the role that Tony Blair and Prescott had played.

If you look at the Mirror two days later:

"Prezza in row over plot raps."

If you look at the Telegraph:

"Reid takes charge as Blair frets over flying back from Barbados."

The point I'm tries to make here is that the selectivity of that question is an illustration of the premise on which it's based.

The truth is, and this is my answer to your question, that at that time there were thousands of articles which were covering this. Many of them were kind enough to say that I'd handled this competently. Some, of course, in the wake of this, weren't. The Guardian got Tom Bower to do a hatchet job on my profile, the Mail did the same with Stephen Glover, but many of them were fair and many of them were also aware of the third item which was not mentioned in the question, which was the cruel baiting of the Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott because it doesn't mention the context, although he's mentioned in those leaders that they gave you, he had just come out of a terrible period where his private life had been exposed to attack and ridicule.

So my answer to this is: there was no particular slant on the Sun's story that wasn't represented anywhere else, with this exception, that I have no doubt that the animosity between the Sun and John Prescott was such that they would have elevated me to diminish John. Similarly, for six months of the next year, they diminished me to elevate Gordon Brown. That was their agenda. But it was also unfortunately the agenda of other newspapers as well.

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