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Blair minders warn: 'We don't do God'

British Prime Minister Tony Blair's most senior advisers have intervened to prevent him discussing his faith in public, according to two new profiles of the Prime Minister.

The Daily Telegraph reports that the bar on the topic is so rigid that Alastair Campbell, Mr Blair's director of strategy and communications, intervened in a recent interview to prevent the Prime Minister from answering a question about his Christianity. "We don't do God," Mr Campbell interrupted.

It also emerged that Mr Blair was prevented by his advisers from ending his address to the nation at the start of hostilities in Iraq with the message: "God bless you."

The extent of the sensitivity at Number 10 to Mr Blair discussing his faith is revealed in an article to mark Mr Blair's 50th birthday this week in Vanity Fair.

The Prime Minister made this declaration of faith on 2 April, the day after seven Iraqi women and children were shot dead by United States soldiers at a checkpoint.

Asked how he responded to the deaths, Mr Blair said: "It really gets to you." He added, however, that he was ready to answer before God for "those who have died or have been horribly maimed as a result of my decisions".

London Telegraph

Pope says private Mass for Blair family (25/2/03)
Blair set to become a Catholic (24/2/03)
10 Downing Street

6 May 2003