Alastair Campbell launches his final Downing St Diary at Mile End Group

Former Downing Street communications chief Alastair Campbell is launching the fourth and final volume of his Diaries of the Blair Years in a public conversation in east London in front of an audience.

He is in conversation with Blair’s biographer John Rentoul at an event staged by the Mile End Group at the University of London’s Queen Mary College at 6.30pm next Wednesday (June 20).

Campbell’s volume, ‘The Burden of Power—Countdown to Iraq’, covers the most turbulent period of his time as Blair’s head of communications from 2001 to 2003.

It begins on September 11, 2001, a day which immediately wrote itself into history with the 9/11 attack in New York, and ends on the day Campbell leaves Downing Street in 2003.

Mile End Group director Dr Jon Davis described Campbell as one of the foremost political figures of recent times.

He said: “Choosing the Mile End Group to launch his final Diaries, covering the road to Baghdad which proved the turning point for the Blair Government, demonstrates that the Group is becoming one of the forums for political and governmental history in the UK.”

Campbell played a key role helping to create New Labour and returning it to power in 1997 after 18 years in Opposition during the Thatcher-Major years.

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The Mile End Group, set up nearly 10 years ago as a discussion group for Queen Mary’s postgraduates of contemporary political history, has evolved into a seminar series attracting top speakers with inside knowledge of government and Whitehall.

Previous speakers have included political figures like Ed Balls, Denis Healey, John Major, Michael Heseltine and Peter Mandelson, and top civil servants such as former Cabinet Secretary Gus O’Donnell and former MI5 director Eliza Manningham-Buller.