Campbell put out by Blair's guitar playing on the phone

THE apparently harmonious relationship between the Prime Minister and his former director of communications hit a discordant note when Tony Blair played guitar while on the phone, Alastair Campbell has revealed.

The former Downing Street communications director reveals his dislike of the guitar before playing the bagpipes on tonight’s BBC1 chatshow Parkinson.

Asked about Tony Blair’s most irritating trait, Mr Campbell told Michael Parkinson: "Well, he’s got this habit of phoning you and playing his guitar at the same time."

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The Prime Minister would tell Mr Campbell: "It’s just a new thing I’m trying out."

Mr Campbell lamented: "That I found a bit hard to deal with - on a Sunday, on the day you are trying to have a bit of time off."

Mr Blair’s former right-hand man also said he still believed that the BBC made Britain special, despite his clash with the Corporation, which led to the Hutton Inquiry. But he remained defiant that the BBC should not have reported claims that the government had "sexed up" the case for war in Iraq.

Asked if government scientist Dr David Kelly’s death could have been avoided, Mr Campbell said: "Well, it could certainly have been avoided if that story had never been reported and then been broadcast."

• Tony and Cherie Blair have filed a formal complaint with the Press Complaints Commission over a newspaper story about their son Nicky’s proposed choice of university, Downing Street confirmed yesterday.

The Blairs have contacted the Commission about an article in the Sunday Express William Hickey column which discussed the education of their 18-year-old son.

It is the second time the Blairs have complained about alleged intrusion concerning their children’s schooling. In 2002 the PCC ruled against the Daily Telegraph and Daily Mail over their reports that the Blairs’ oldest son Euan had applied for a place at Oxford University.