Top Blair aide warned George Bush’s White House was full of ‘f***ing lunatics’ who spelled disaster for UK

·3-min read
Tony Blair was persuaded by George Bush to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Getty)
Tony Blair was persuaded by George Bush to support the 2003 invasion of Iraq (Getty)

Tony Blair’s most senior No 10 aide warned that George Bush and his “f***ing lunatics” in the White House would lead Britain into trouble after he won the presidential election, according to a new book.

The claim is made in the new diaries of former Labour MP Chris Mullin, who was a foreign office minister in Blair’s government during the 2003 Iraq war.

Mullin says Mr Blair’s Downing St chief of staff Jonathan Powell said after meeting Mr Bush’s team, shortly after the 2000 US election: “They’re f***ing lunatics. Who knows what they’ll get us into?”


Chris Mullin, who was a Labour MP for more than 20 years and a minister under Tony Blair, has won plaudits for the first three instalments of his political diaries, described as “wickedly indiscreet” and “a treat to be savoured”. The Independent is exclusively serialising the fourth volume here.

The allegation is among a series of revelations in Mullin’s latest memoirs, Didn’t You Use to Be Chris Mullin?, which are being serialised exclusively in The Independent.

Waspish Mullin says Jeremy Corbyn was “hopelessly unsuited to the realities of power”, derides “stupid” Labour leader Ed Miliband, and says London mayor Sadiq Khan has “no charisma”. He accuses Diane Abbott of “talking nonsense”.

He savages former Labour prime minister Gordon Brown for approving plans for Margaret Thatcher’s funeral in 2013. It was “a huge Tory festival at public expense”, says Mullin, describing it as “yet another of his many misjudgements”.

By contrast, left-winger Mullin says he has changed his mind about former Conservative prime minister Sir John Major, who he says is “a much more substantial figure than he was ever given credit for”.

Jonathan Powell was top adviser to Tony Blair (Getty)
Jonathan Powell was top adviser to Tony Blair (Getty)

Mullin claims Labour-supporting filmmaker David Puttnam told him about Mr Powell’s comment regarding Mr Bush’s White House team in 2010.

He says Lord Puttnam, ennobled by Blair, told him that Mr Powell had expressed alarm when speaking to him over breakfast in London’s Claridge’s Hotel in December 2000 about a meeting he had had with Mr Bush’s team after they won the election the previous month.

“According to David, almost Jonathan’s first words were: ‘They’re f***ing lunatics. Who knows what they’ll get us into?’”

In 2003, Mr Blair joined Mr Bush in declaring war on Iraq, in what was seen by most experts as one of the biggest foreign policy disasters in modern British history.

Chris Mullin was Labour MP for Sunderland South until 2010 (PA)
Chris Mullin was Labour MP for Sunderland South until 2010 (PA)

Mr Blair and Mr Powell have always denied that Britain joined the conflict solely because of pressure from the US.

Mullin portrays Mr Blair as “increasingly jet-lagged and haunted by the spectre of Iraq” as he travels the world making millions from “unsavoury autocrats”.

He adds: “What is the point of all this frenetic activity? There is something tragic about it.”

The first extract of Mullin’s new book charts the rise of Mr Corbyn, as well as the emergence of Sir Keir Starmer.

It also reveals details of Mullin’s family life with his Vietnamese-born wife Ngoc and their two daughters. He says he wept when the “bedraggled, skeletal” family cat Bruce was put down by a vet.

He denounces Tory attempts to portray Mr Khan as a “Muslim extremist”, but goes on: “Despite a great backstory, he [Khan] is entirely lacking in charisma and does not appear to stand for very much.”

Nor do Mullin’s own constituents in the Sunderland South seat he represented until 2010 escape his sharp quill. Remainer Mullin condemns the “shameful” way they backed Brexit in the 2016 EU referendum.

But he does not spare his own blushes, revealing how he repeatedly wrote in his diary that the UK would not vote in favour of Brexit.