No 10 hired US lawyers to advise on Lewinsky scandal before Blair visit to US | Politics past

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No 10 hired US lawyers to advise on the legal position of the US president, Bill Clinton, at the time of the Monica Lewinsky scandal before Tony Blair’s official 1998 visit to Washington, previously secret documents reveal.

The British prime minister’s visit was overshadowed by Clinton’s relationship with the White House intern, with the UK’s US ambassador, Sir Christopher Meyer, describing Lewinsky in one cable as “the phantom at the feast”.

As Downing Street put finishing touches to Blair’s programme, Clinton had famously denied “sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinsky” while the Drudge Report published allegations she had kept a stained dress.

The developments led No 10 to quietly drop plans for Cherie Blair to attend a Washington meeting on the White House intern scheme during the visit. Philip Barton, Blair’s private secretary, wrote to Cherie’s…

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