Alistair Campbell has slammed the Telegraph over its handling of the HSBC crisis and a subsequent News UK suicide report he dubbed “very, very nasty”.
Campbell, the former director of communications and strategy under prime minister Tony Blair between 1997 and 2003, launched a scathing attack against the Telegraph on the Andrew Marr Show on Sunday morning.
The critical comments were made in response to reporter Peter Oborne’s high profile resignation from the Telegraph amid accusations it had suppressed reports of HSBC tax avoidance to protect advertising revenue, and a report that two members of the Times' staff committed suicide due to the commercial pressures from News UK.
Campbell said: “I think the idea of the commercial link has always been there in newspapers but what I think Peter Oborne’s resignation brought to light was a really crass and systematic strategic example of this and now of course this reason it’s become such a nasty debate between the newspapers is the way that the Telegraph is reporting the suicides at News UK.
“[It is reported] they killed themselves because they felt under pressure… the Samaritans are now involved and saying that the [Telegraph’s] reporting of this has not been helpful and it is getting very, very nasty.”
Campbell concluded: “This is what happens when newspapers groups never stand back and think ‘how I being seen in the way I am doing this’, I think that the way the Telegraph are handling this is absolutely appalling.”
The news comes after the National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said it was 'shocked' at the paper's lack of editorial guidelines in the midst of the HSBC scandal.