125 Facts About Alastair Campbell


Alastair John Campbell was born on 25 May 1957 and is a British journalist, author, strategist, broadcaster and activist, known for his political roles during Tony Blair's leadership of the Labour Party.


Alastair Campbell then became Downing Street director of communications and spokesman for the Labour Party.


Alastair Campbell returned as campaign director for the 2005 general election in Blair's third win.


Alastair Campbell is the editor at large of The New European and chief interviewer for GQ.


Alastair Campbell continues to act as a consultant strategist and as an ambassador for Time to Change and other mental health charities.


Alastair Campbell was an adviser to the People's Vote campaign, demanding a public vote on the final Brexit deal.


Alastair Campbell was born on 25 May 1957 in Keighley, West Riding of Yorkshire, son of Scottish veterinary surgeon Donald Alastair Campbell and his wife Elizabeth.


Alastair Campbell's parents had moved to Keighley when his father became a partner in a local veterinary practice.


Alastair Campbell grew up with two older brothers, Donald and Graeme, and a younger sister, Elizabeth.


Alastair Campbell is an emeritus professor in media at Cambridge University.


Alastair Campbell's first published work was Inter-City Ditties, his winning entry to a readers' competition in Forum, the journalistic counterpart to Penthouse magazine.


In 1982, Alastair Campbell moved to the London office of the Daily Mirror, Fleet Street's sole remaining big-circulation supporter of the Labour Party.


Alastair Campbell became a political correspondent, then in 1986 moved to Today, a full-colour tabloid newspaper which was at the time trying to turn leftward, where he worked as a news editor.


Alastair Campbell's rapid rise and its accompanying stress led to alcohol abuse.


Alastair Campbell continued on that day, following Kinnock to Perth, Scotland and finally Hamilton, South Lanarkshire, where he had a nervous breakdown and was arrested by two Special Branch detectives.


Alastair Campbell said that from that day onwards he counted each day that he did not drink alcohol, and did not stop counting until he had reached thousands.


Alastair Campbell returned to England, preferring to stay with friends near Cheltenham rather than return to London where he did not feel safe.


Alastair Campbell's condition continued with a phase of depression, and he was reluctant to seek further medical help.


Alastair Campbell eventually cooperated with treatment from his family doctor.


Alastair Campbell returned to the Daily Mirror, where he eventually became political editor.


Alastair Campbell was a close adviser to Neil Kinnock, going on holiday with the Kinnocks, and worked closely with Mirror publisher Robert Maxwell.


Alastair Campbell later put this down to stress over uncertainty as to whether he and his colleagues would lose their jobs.


Alastair Campbell was working there when Labour leader John Smith died in 1994.


Alastair Campbell was a well-known face and helped to interview the three candidates for Labour Party leader; it later became known he had already formed links with Tony Blair.


Shortly after Tony Blair was elected as Leader of the Labour Party in 1994, Alastair Campbell left Today to become Blair's press secretary.


Alastair Campbell wrote the speech that led to the party's review of Clause IV and the birth of "New Labour".


Alastair Campbell oversaw new co-ordination and rebuttal systems which gave birth to a communications machine which became both feared and respected, and the model for modern communications in politics and business.


Alastair Campbell earned a reputation for ruthless news management which made him many enemies in the media.


Alastair Campbell played an important role in the run-up to the 1997 UK general election, working with Peter Mandelson to co-ordinate Labour's successful election campaign.


Alastair Campbell worked hard to win support from the national media for the Labour Party, particularly from newspapers that for many years had been anti-Labour.


Alastair Campbell moved into government when Labour won the general election in May 1997 and served as the Prime Minister's chief press secretary until 2000.


Alastair Campbell persuaded Cabinet Secretary Sir Robin Butler that government communications had to be modernised, and the government set up the Mountfield Review.


Alastair Campbell created a Strategic Communications Unit which gave Downing Street the power to co-ordinate all government activity, using what became known as "the grid" as its main apparatus.


Alastair Campbell set up a rapid rebuttal unit similar to the one he had used in opposition.


Alastair Campbell put Downing Street briefings on record for the first time, and although he was only identified as "The Prime Minister's Official Spokesman", he became one of the most high-profile and written about figures in British politics, earning the epithet "the real deputy Prime Minister".


Alastair Campbell opened briefings to the foreign media, among a raft of modernisation and efficiency strategies he introduced.


In 2001, Alastair Campbell claimed that the days of the bog standard comprehensive school were over due to educational policies of the Labour government.


Alastair Campbell attacked the news media for their obsession with him, and eventually began to pull back from frontline work and delegated direct briefing of the media to others, but, if anything, his profile continued to grow.


Alastair Campbell then moved to the post of Prime Minister's Director of Communications, which gave him a strategic role in overseeing government communications.


Alastair Campbell was sponsored by US President George W Bush to complete the London Marathon in aid of leukaemia research charity Bloodwise.


Alastair Campbell was part of Tony Blair's core team that conducted the negotiations that led to the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland, and he has been honoured by several Irish universities for his role in the peace process.


Alastair Campbell became a close friend of, among others, Martin McGuinness, and attended his funeral in 2017.


Alastair Campbell was seconded to overhaul the communications of NATO during the Kosovo crisis, when US President Bill Clinton feared NATO was losing the propaganda war against the Slobodan Milosevic regime.


The general in charge of the military operation, Wesley Clark, credited Alastair Campbell with bringing order and discipline to NATO communications, and freeing the military to do its job.


Alastair Campbell became a central figure in the handling of the aftermath of Princess Diana's death after the head of the royal household, the Earl of Airlie, asked Tony Blair to second Alastair Campbell to help prepare the funeral, saying they knew it would have to be different.


Alastair Campbell is widely reported to have coined the phrase "the people's princess" and to have persuaded the queen to make her broadcast to the nation more personal, not least by using the phrase "speaking as a grandmother".


Alastair Campbell's character appears in the 2006 film The Queen, but he has said most of it was fictional.


Alastair Campbell oversaw Blair's successful 2001 UK general election campaign for re-election and returned to assist with the successful 2005 UK general election campaign.


On 9 September 2002, Alastair Campbell sent a memo to Sir John Scarlett, the chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, in which Alastair Campbell directed that the British dossier be "one that complements rather than conflicts with" the US claims.


Alastair Campbell resigned in August 2003 during the Hutton Inquiry into the death of David Kelly.


Kelly's view that the government exaggerated the Iraqi threat in the Iraq Dossier, told to BBC journalists Andrew Gilligan and Susan Watts, had led to Alastair Campbell battling with the BBC.


Alastair Campbell gave evidence to the Iraq Inquiry on 12 January 2010.


Alastair Campbell worked again for the Labour Party as Campaign Director in the run-up to their third consecutive victory at the 2005 general election.


Alastair Campbell acted as an adviser to Gordon Brown and Ed Miliband at the 2010 and the 2015 general elections.


Alastair Campbell wrote a column for The Times during the tour.


Subsequent press coverage of the book's release included coverage of what Alastair Campbell had chosen to leave out, particularly in respect of the relationship between Blair and his chancellor and successor Gordon Brown.


Alastair Campbell expressed an intention to one day publish the diaries in fuller form, and indicated in the introduction to the book that he did not wish to make matters harder for Brown in his new role as Prime Minister, or to damage the Labour Party.


Alastair Campbell later said that he "fell hook, line and sinker" for the Armstrong legend.


Alastair Campbell subsequently worked with Armstrong, campaigning for cancer charities, but drew criticism from Armstrong's nemesis David Walsh for being so supportive and defending him so passionately.


In 2006 and 2007, Alastair Campbell took part in Soccer Aid as part of the Rest of the World team.


Alastair Campbell appeared with Diego Maradona and Paul Gascoigne to raise money for UNICEF.


Alastair Campbell has his own website and blog, as well as several pages on social networking websites.


Alastair Campbell uses these platforms to discuss British politics and other topics close to his heart.


Alastair Campbell has written a novel on the subject entitled All in the Mind.


Alastair Campbell appeared as a mentor in the BBC Two series The Speaker in April 2009, offering his advice on persuasive speaking.


Alastair Campbell famously clashed with Adam Boulton on Sky News about the result of the 2010 general election, with the latter being reduced to shouting over both Alastair Campbell and the show's presenter.


Alastair Campbell made his first appearance on the BBC One political discussion programme Question Time on 27 May 2010.


Alastair Campbell suggested the discord was part of a Conservative anti-BBC agenda.


The minister who had been scheduled to appear was the then Chief Secretary to the Treasury David Laws, who Alastair Campbell produced a picture of during the programme.


Alastair Campbell appeared on BBC's Top Gear in July 2010, where he was booed by the audience but set a time of 1:47 around the Top Gear test track in the Star in a Reasonably-Priced Car segment.


Alastair Campbell took part in the 2011 Channel Four television series Jamie's Dream School.


In 2011, Alastair Campbell contacted the Metropolitan Police with suspicions that his phone was hacked by the News of the World in 2003.


Alastair Campbell received damages, part of which he used to sponsor the Burnley FC women's team.


Alastair Campbell presented and narrated the 20 February 2012 edition of BBC current affairs programme Panorama, which was entitled "Britain's Hidden Alcoholics".


In 2012, Alastair Campbell made his first appearance in an acting role with a small part in an episode of the BBC drama Accused.


In May 2012, Alastair Campbell took a role at PR agency Portland Communications, at the invitation of Tim Allan, a former adviser to Tony Blair.


In May 2016, the International Business Times announced that Alastair Campbell had joined it as a columnist.


When Government Adviser Dominic Cummings broke government guidelines to visit Durham, England, Alastair Campbell urged his social media followers to write to all Tory MPs asking for their view, and published a 50,000 word analysis of what he called 'Organised Hypocrisy' on his website based on the responses he collated.


Alastair Campbell was a guest presenter of Good Morning Britain from 10 to 12 May 2021, where he presented with Susanna Reid.


Alastair Campbell launched a regular series of 'Instagram live' broadcasts, in which he vented his criticisms of Boris Johnson.


Alastair Campbell was an outspoken critic of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and the Tory government's tolerance of oligarchs close to Putin in contrast with their 'cruel and shabby' treatment of Ukrainian refugees, who faced enormous red tape before being considered for exile.


Alastair Campbell wrote extensively on his meetings with the Russian president alongside Tony Blair.


Immediately after the UK's referendum on membership of the European Union in June 2016, Alastair Campbell stated that he thought it was "the worst decision Britain had made in his lifetime" and would do what he could to change people's minds.


In 2018 Alastair Campbell became part of the top table team at the People's Vote campaign fighting for a referendum on the Brexit deal.


In 2018 Alastair Campbell worked for the People's Vote campaign's planning and organisation of a march on Parliament on 20 October, which drew an estimated 250,000 people onto the streets.


Alastair Campbell helped organize and spoke at a second march and rally attended by an estimated million people in October 2019, on the day Boris Johnson called a rare Saturday sitting in Parliament to back his Brexit deal.


In July 2017, he was invited to speak at the French National Assembly to the newly elected MPs of President Emmanuel Macron's victorious En Marche party, Alastair Campbell having met and advised Macron during the campaign.


Alastair Campbell urged the French to be patient with the United Kingdom and to give them a chance to change course and reverse Brexit.


Alastair Campbell said Macron had been bolder than Tony Blair in setting up a new party and leading it to power within little over a year.


Alastair Campbell wrote a piece criticising the chairman of Open Britain, Roland Rudd, after Rudd unilaterally decided to sack two key campaign officials on the eve of the 2019 UK general election.


Alastair Campbell has since then been a prominent supporter and advocate for the mental health anti-stigma campaign Time to Change.


Alastair Campbell took part in the Mental Health Foundation's takeover of Channel Four for Mental Health Awareness Week 2017, acting as a celebrity continuity announcer.


Alastair Campbell made numerous media appearances and caused controversy by saying on the Australian version of Question Time, that Donald Trump and fellow populists were "sowing the seeds of fascism".


Alastair Campbell followed that by writing the book Living Better about his struggle with depression.


On 28 May 2019, Alastair Campbell announced that he had been expelled from the Labour Party after voting for the Liberal Democrats in that month's European elections, and that he would appeal against the decision.


Alastair Campbell questioned the speed of his expulsion compared to the treatment of Labour colleagues accused of anti-semitism.


Alastair Campbell was a long-standing critic of Labour's Brexit strategy and in the May 2019 European elections, he voted Liberal Democrat as a protest vote.


Alastair Campbell announced this after the polls had closed in interviews on TV and radio covering the results as they came in.


Alastair Campbell said he did so, in common with many others, to persuade Labour unequivocally to back a People's Vote.


Alastair Campbell immediately appealed the decision, saying tactical voting was not a breach of the rule under which he had been expelled, and arguing that unless all others who had acted as he did were expelled he had a case for discrimination.


In July 2019, in the week Boris Johnson became prime minister, Alastair Campbell penned a 3,500-word open letter to Jeremy Corbyn saying he no longer wished to be re-admitted to the party despite legal advice saying he would win a court case against his expulsion.


Alastair Campbell called on Corbyn to step down and cited his "failure" on Brexit, antisemitism, broader policy and "above all the failure to develop and execute a strategy".


Corbyn said he was "disappointed", prompting Alastair Campbell to ask why he had been expelled.


Alastair Campbell voted Labour in the 2019 general election, having been part of a failed tactical voting campaign aimed at preventing Johnson from winning a majority.


In March 2022, Alastair Campbell launched The Rest is Politics podcast with Rory Stewart, a former Conservative Member of Parliament and candidate in the 2019 Conservative Party leadership election.


Alastair Campbell has described himself as a pro-faith atheist, and his statement "we don't do God" is one of his more repeated soundbites.


However, he was asked in late 2017 by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, whom Alastair Campbell had interviewed for GQ, to contribute to his book on the meaning of Christmas.


Alastair Campbell has talked extensively about how Donald, the Principal's official bagpiper at Glasgow University and a competitor in high-level Piobaireachd competitions, had inspired him to fight for better mental health services and understanding, and to become the ambassador for several mental health charities.


Alastair Campbell remains a lifelong Burnley supporter and writes about their exploits in a column titled "Turf Moor Diaries" for the FanHouse UK football blog.


Alastair Campbell is regularly involved in events with the club.


Alastair Campbell was heavily involved in rescuing the club from potential bankruptcy, gaining the support of many high-profile public figures.


Alastair Campbell was one of the founders of the University College of Football Business, based at Burnley's stadium.


Alastair Campbell is a fan of the Rugby League club Keighley Cougars, it having been a childhood dream to play for the team.


Alastair Campbell had played the bagpipes at a concert in Glasgow earlier in the year, staged entirely by musicians with links to Tiree.


Alastair Campbell is a keen runner, cyclist, swimmer and triathlete.


Alastair Campbell raised over half a million pounds for charity running the London Marathon in 2003.


Alastair Campbell entered into a civil partnership with British journalist Fiona Millar, on 30 March 2021, after being together for 42 years.


In 2005, Alastair Campbell was played by Jonathan Cake in the Channel 4 television film The Government Inspector, based on the David Kelly Case.


Alastair Campbell is asked if it will be difficult to sack the person he most loves and cherishes, replying "I'm not sacking Alastair Campbell".


The interview descended into argument, with Alastair Campbell accusing the likes of Mark Kermode and the show's creator Armando Iannucci of being responsible for people's cynicism with modern politics.


On 7 July 2022 Alastair Campbell appeared on BBC One's Question Time.


In May 2022 it was announced that Alastair Campbell would appear in the Channel 4 political entertainment series Make Me Prime Minister, due to broadcast at the end of September 2022.


In May 2023, Alastair Campbell was involved in a heated debate with Alex Phillips, a member of Reform UK, on BBC Newsnight.


Alastair Campbell later apologised to the presenter, Victoria Derbyshire, for his behaviour.


Alastair Campbell has published a number of books, including eight volumes of memoirs.