The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns 442

I have a confession to make. Back in 2014 I posted that I was going to write something further on the subject of the McCanns. In the end I did not, because I was surprised by the strong emotional reaction I received, from a number of decent people, who were enraged that I might be prepared to write something not to the McCanns’ advantage. But I regret being so pusillanimous, particularly as so much discussion has been suppressed by the extremely aggressive stance taken on threats of libel action on this story.

So in the full knowledge that some decent people will be outraged, here it is.

This week there have been two more developments. The Home Office has announced that it will fund still further the police investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, on which £10 million has already been spent. Plus the appeals court in Lisbon has overturned the libel verdict against the Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral, who led the case and formed his own firm convictions at to what happened. The 500,000 euro libel award to the McCanns is now cancelled.

None of these sums of money would matter in the least, and practically nobody would grudge any expense, to have Madeleine McCann alive, safe and happy. There can be nothing worse for a parent than the loss of a child, whatever the circumstances. If the McCanns genuinely do not know what happened, that must be agonising beyond belief. My grandparents had a nineteen year old son, an uncle I never knew, missing in action in World War 2 and the pain never left them, even when his fate was resolved.

And yet, and yet… It is because our children are so precious to us that we treat them as such. I recall an incident on Jamie’s first birthday, which we spent in a hotel in Italy. I was in the room with Jamie. My then wife had gone out to the car. The birthday cake was delivered to reception and had to be paid for. Jamie was fast asleep. I dashed out of the hotel room, down two flights of steps to reception, literally threw the money at them and ran back up the stairs. I was away under two minutes but have never experienced such adrenalin, nor would wish to again. An overwhelming instinct had kicked in telling me I had done wrong in leaving the baby unattended, even so briefly.

I find the McCanns’ behaviour indefensible. There appears to be a disconnect in the public mind in the UK which prevents people from realising just how far the McCanns were from their children. This is a useful graphic just to see the layout, (do not worry about the other info on it).


The McCanns could not actually see their apartment from the tapas bar due to the wall around the pool. To get back there, they had to use the gate and walk around that wall, which made it a 75 yard hike. And the apartment had double doors onto the street on the opposite side of the block from that facing the pool.

I do not see how anybody understanding this geography can consider that it was normal parenting for the McCanns to leave two one year olds and a three year old, alone in the apartment in these circumstances – for hours, and repeatedly several days running. It is something I would absolutely never dream of doing with my own children. If nothing else, had any of the children been crying and in distress – and the chances of that with three tiny children are pretty high – there was no way they could hear them.

The claimed abduction is not the only thing that could have happened. Cholic. Vomiting. Sore nappies. Coughing. Choking. Bad dreams. Overheating. All kinds of thing can distress children. So far as I can judge, it is not that I am weird in my own views, rather it is absolutely accepted in British society that you do not leave 1 year olds without care of an adult. Why are the McCanns an exception?

Which leads me on to the question of why they received such exceptional treatment from British authorities, directed straight from No. 10, to the extent that Blair and Brown eventually gave them a PR representative? I used at one stage to be Resident Clerk in the FCO, a now abolished post effectively of night duty officer. I can tell you from horrible personal experience that the FCO deals with gut-wrenching cases of lost or dead children abroad frequently. I spent one of the most terrible three hours of my life, through to a cold dawn, on the phone with a hysterical bereaved mother desperate to explore any avenue that might give a possibility that the boy who had just drowned in Brazil was misidentified as her son. On average, I am afraid such tragedies get substantially less than 1% of the public resources that were devoted to the McCanns.

I am going to come straight out with this. British diplomatic staff were under direct instruction to support the McCanns far beyond the usual and to put pressure on the Portuguese authorities over the case. I have direct information that more than one of those diplomatic staff found the McCanns less than convincing and their stories inconsistent. Embassy staff were perturbed to be ordered that British authorities were to be present at every contact between the McCanns and Portuguese police.

This again is absolutely not the norm. On a daily basis more British citizens have contact with foreign authorities than the total staff of the FCO. It would be simply impossible to give that level of support to everybody. Plus, against jingoistic presumption, a great many Brits who have contact with foreign police are actually criminals.

The British Ambassador in Portugal, John Buck, had been my direct boss in the FCO. he was Deputy Head of Southern European Department when I was Head of Cyprus Section. He and his staff were concerned by contradictions in the McCann’s story. The Embassy warned, in writing, that being perceived as too close to the McCanns might not prove wise. They demanded the instruction from London be reconfirmed. It was.

I know of people’s misgivings because I was told directly. But material was also leaked to a Belgian newspaper confirming what I have said. It was published by the Express, but like so much other material which is not supportive of the McCanns, it got taken down. Fortunately that last link preserved it. It also shows that the FCO continues to refuse Freedom of Information requests for the material on the interesting grounds that it might damage relations with Portugal.

For the avoidance of doubt, I do not believe there was a high level paedophile ring involved. I make no such argument. Nor do I claim to know what happened to Madeleine McCann. But I do believe that the McCanns were less than exemplary parents. I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.

And I believe there is a genuine danger that the high profile support from the top of the British government might have put some psychological pressure on the Portuguese investigators and prosecuting officers in their determinations.

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442 thoughts on “The Strange Case of Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and the McCanns

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  • Mary White

    Why on earth have the parents been exonerated? Their stories are a deliberate lie.
    Their emotionless, cold calculating demeanours are the hallmark of guilty liars.
    There is some talk about the involvement in freemasonry from the highest levels down to the McCanns. Apparently there are many medics in this secret society whose purpose is to defend members to the death.

    • Paul Duffy

      They have never been exonerated by the Portuguese Judiciary. The case was archived until new evidence is found. They like to tell the media they were cleared but they haven’t been.

  • Rose donnelly

    I think many people believe the attention brought to the maccans case was disproportionate.Sadly children go missing every year & do not get the attention funding or such a high profile as the McCanns.
    Many felt the pain Maddies parents went through but I think we feel the same angst and pain when any child goes missing. Sadly these other missing children parents don’t appear to get the attention & the public funding that the McCanns case attracted???.

  • Lynn Knaggs

    Gerry McCann is a free Mason and i would think so are Brown and Blair and most of the old boy net work.They all look out for each other and i am sure would do anything they needed to do to protect each other.

  • N_

    I do not believe there was a high level paedophile ring involved.

    I wouldn’t be so sure of that.

    I believe that New Labour’s No.10 saw, in typical Blair fashion, a highly photogenic tragedy which there might be popularity in appearing to work on.

    That doesn’t explain

    * the help given by the US Attorney General Alberto Gonzalez
    * the help given by Pope Benedict (Joseph Ratzinger, who by the way is still alive)
    * the help given by billionaire Philip Green
    * the running away from the hotel (to Switzerland, and without even checking out) by billionaire-bracket Margaret Hodge’s nephew Philip Edmonds
    * the sheer amount of money that has been spent on this case, on deliberately creating and talking up false leads etc., long after Blair and then Brown left office

    • N_

      Oh and another fact is that Mark Warner, the company that owned the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, made no profits for 16 years. That is extremely unusual for an active company. It suggests very strongly indeed that the company was operated as a front for other business.

      This is far more than a case of a pair of utterly irresponsible arrogant shitbag medics who were completely bereft of any normal adult person’s care for the wellbeing of small children.

    • Paul Duffy

      I’ve been researching the case since 2008 since I read Goncarlo Amaral’s book The Truth Of The Lie, and I agree with your statement 1,000%.

  • Mark Watson

    The New Labour government had also adopted child policies from the US (‘Home Start’ which became ‘Sure Start’ and ‘Leave No Child Behind’ which in its UK incarnation became ‘Every Child Matters’) and were also very focused on ideas such as ‘early intervention’ with ‘early years’ initiatives in general seen as a very important plank of their overall social policy. This and the ‘therapeutic ethos’ in governance that had developed post-Diana explains why Blair and then Brown took such an interest in this case. It might also, in part have been motivated by a desire to bring about a positive political moment (had Madelaine McCann been found) that had alluded John Major during the period in which the tragic case of Ben Needham had failed to do so?

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