Cherie Blair is headed for a High Court clash with Associated Newspapers in a row over a Daily Mail story.
The wife of the former prime minister is suing the publisher over a story headed “Outrage as Mandy goes on a country shoot with Gaddafi son (And, surprise, Cherie came too).”
Blair claims the story was defamatory and alleged she had deliberately gone on a pheasant shoot to maintain close links with Saif Gaddafi, son of the Libyan dictator.
Saif Gaddafi had personally welcomed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset al Megrahi as a hero on his return to Libya following his release from a Scottish prison.
According to a writ filed at the High Court, Blair claims the story suggested her behaviour would have outraged families of Lockerbie bombing victims.
Blair, who has instructed London law firm Atkins Thomson to act for her in the case, also contends the story portrayed her as a hypocrite by attending the shoot despite her publicly stated and outspoken opposition to blood sports and hunting.
The story caused substantial damage to her reputation as well as hurt, distress, and embarrassment, she claims.
Blair says the newspaper’s publisher failed to contact her to check the allegations – if it had done so it would have discovered they were untrue as she had not attended the pheasant shoot nor met Saif Gaddafi, she stated.
Associated Newspapers failed to provide a full and unequivocal apology, or even to give a substantive response to her complaint, she added.
Blair is seeking damages limited to £50,000, and an injunction preventing repetition of the claims at the centre of her action.