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Cook defends spin doctor against quit calls.

EMBATTLED spin doctor Alastair Campbell was defended yesterday by Leader of the Commons Robin Cook.

Cook insisted Tony Blair's communications chief was not "a liability" to Labour.

Some MPs, including veteran Tam Dalyell, had called for Campbell to quit after he was humiliatingly forced to withdraw a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission.

The complaint was over newspaper reports that Blair had tried to "muscle in" on the funeral ceremonial for the Queen Mother.

Commons official Black Rod refused to confirm Downing Street's version of events, forcing Campbell to back down.

Yesterday, Cook rejected claims that Campbell should quit, saying: "He is a great asset to the Government. I look forward to working with him for many years to come."

Junior Foreign Office Minister Denis MacShane said: "I would be very unhappy if we had a PM who threw somebody overboard every time a journalist published a critical story."
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Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 16, 2002
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