Veteran editor gives broadcasters Blair scoop from hospital bed

Camden New Journal and Islington Tribune editor Eric Gordon was interviewed by national news channels from his hospital bed while recovering from an operation, after he broke the story of Margaret Hodge criticising Tony Blair’s decision to go to war.

Gordon had been at a dinner for members of the Islington Fabian Society when Hodge said she had doubts from as far back as 1998 about Blair’s approach to foreign affairs, singling out his “moral imperialism” and adding: “I hope this isn’t going to be reported.”

Gordon told Press Gazette: “It was a bit crazy, because I was in the hospital bed all wired up with oxygen, and I allowed my phone number to be given to Channel 4 and Newsnight because I have got some respect for them, and Al Jazeera English, because it had just started. Channel 4 wanted to come down and film me, but the matron of the hospital wouldn’t allow it.

“I didn’t want to give my number to any of the nationals, because I was still woozy and just coming out of an anaesthetic. It was a bit insane.”

Gordon said there was an element of luck to his scooping one of the week’s biggest stories.

He explained: “I had been invited to a Fabian meal, which I didn’t particularly want to go to, but at the last moment I decided I had a free two hours so I went along to it on Friday night. “There was a little bit of good luck involved. There’s a strange irony to me getting the story, because in the early ’80s when she was leader of Islington Council, Margaret Hodge phoned me and asked would I go along with other journalists to a lunch and advise her how she could get a good press.”

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