Tony Blair cancels book signing amid protest fears

BBC News | 6 September 2010 | 15:05 GMT

Protest against Blair's Book Signing Tony Blair has cancelled a planned book signing in London on Wednesday to prevent causing the public and the police "a lot of hassle". Mr Blair said: "I don’t want the public to be inconvenienced by the inevitable hassle caused by protesters." Eggs and shoes were thrown at the former UK prime minister at a similar event in Dublin at the weekend. Mr Blair earlier told ITV it was "not as if we need" to do signings to sell copies of his memoirs. Announcing his decision to scrap the long-planned event, he said: "I know the Metropolitan Police would, as ever, have done a superb job in managing any disruption but I do not wish to impose an extra strain on police resources, simply for a book signing. I’m really sorry for those – as ever the majority – who would have come to have their books signed by me in person. I hope they understand."


Four men were arrested after eggs, bottles and shoes were thrown at him during anti-Iraq war protests at the Dublin signing following the release of his memoirs last week. Mr Blair described those involved as a "minority", adding that, on such occasions, "the protesters get all the publicity". Another event had been planned for Waterstone’s in Piccadilly, central London, on Wednesday, with rigorous security measures in place. But ahead of it being cancelled Mr Blair, prime minister from 1997 to 2007, told the ITV breakfast programme Daybreak: "To be frank about it, I am concerned – if people want to have a book signed, people should protest but not try and physically prevent you doing it." Waterstone’s said the signing was cancelled on "the wishes of the author".

Managing director Dominic Myers, said, "Our job as a bookseller is to bring books to our customers, and where possible enable them to meet authors as well. It is a matter of regret that because of the likely actions of a minority, our customers are now not able to meet three-times elected prime minister of the United Kingdom, whose book has become our fastest-selling autobiography ever." Mr Blair said he would provide signed copies for the store to sell instead. Lindsey German, convener of the Stop The War Coalition, said the former prime minister "was too frightened to appear at the book signing because he knows that the protests represent widespread opposition to his war-mongering".

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