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BLAIR: GIVE POSH AND BECKS MORE PRIVACY; Er, Tony..haven't you noticed they quite LIKE publicity.

Byline: JAMES HARDY, Political Editor

TONY Blair yesterday pleaded for the Beckhams to be given more privacy - two days after they posed kissing for the Press to quell rumours of marriage problems.

He sprang to David and Victoria's defence, asking the media to back off as the scandal about the England soccer star's alleged affairs continues to rage.

The PM told the Commons: "I hope everyone understands that occasionally when people's privacy is invaded in this way it causes great distress. And I don't always think it's in the public interest."

But many observers were surprised by Mr Blair's comments - which seemed to ignore the fact that the couple have made millions out of manipulating the Press and TV to promote their image.

One media insider said: "I think he's being a bit naive. Posh and Becks love publicity - but only when it suits them. It's what has made them mega-celebrities. They live and breathe it.

"You only have to see how many times Becks has changed his hairstyle to realise how much they crave attention."

Despite his remarks about the Beckhams, Mr Blair snubbed a Commons demand for a privacy law. He is notoriously protective of his own family and has been stung by media criticism of wife Cherie. But he has consistently held out against pressure to introduce French-style legislation which would ban publication of stories about the private lives of public figures.

And he again rejected the idea when it was raised during Question Time by senior Labour MP Clive Soley, who claimed the Beckhams were the victims of "crass" media intrusion.

He called for legally enforced Press controls and - to laughter from MPs - for editors and newspaper owners to be summoned before Parliament to be quizzed about THEIR private lives.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Apr 22, 2004
Words:299
Previous Article:Meet the new Ken & Barbie.
Next Article:Save Our Beckhams ..from themselves.


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