Papers ignore plea on Leo Blair photo

A plea from Downing Street not to publish a photo of the Prime Minister’s three-year-old son Leo Blair was ignored by nearly all of Fleet Street on Tuesday.

Tony Blair presented Jacques Chirac with a signed photo of his young son at the conclusion of the French leader’s visit.

The private present became public when the French president brandished the framed photo at a press conference.

Downing Street officials phoned newspapers asking them not to reproduce the image or to use it discreetly.

Because Leo is no longer a baby the Blairs are thought to be concerned that making his appearance widely known would increase the risk of him being kidnapped or otherwise harmed.

Every national paper, except The Independent and the Financial Times, used the photo anyway – with The Times, Daily Telegraph and Guardian all putting it on page one.

A Downing Street spokesman said: “The security concerns are genuine, but we recognise the unusual circumstances in relation to how this picture came into the public domain.”

By Dominic Ponsford

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