Charlie Whelan says . . .

Don't believe it - "Character assassination against Cherie Blair"

Cherie Blair is never satisfied with her lot. Following Labour's landslide in 1997, I was enjoying a few beers and a smoke with Ed Balls, the Chancellor's adviser, in a ground-floor room in No 11. Cherie Blair flounced in demanding to know what we were doing in "her" house. When Gordon Brown generously agreed to give up the spacious rooms that have always been the Chancellor's flat, she thought she should have the whole house. With such a desire for more space, no wonder she wanted a couple of flats in Bristol.

I've never much liked the First Lady, who refers to me as an "oik", and who - on several social occasions - has acted in such an uncivilised manner towards me that even I was shocked. Presumably my crime was that I thought Brown would have made a better leader of the Labour Party than her husband. I don't know if she treats others in a similar fashion, but it wouldn't surprise me if she did.

Given her behaviour, I think that in general she has had an excellent press, even from the Daily Mail, at times. So, for Downing Street spin-doctors to claim that she is the victim of character assassination is beyond belief. I know that Alastair Campbell believes that the best form of defence is attack - which is probably why he supports such a crap football team - but all No 10 has done is to upset the whole media by lying.

Most families in this country will not take kindly to a PM who wants top-up fees and won't give the firefighters a fair wage, but buys expensive properties. I also don't think we have heard the last about Blair's so-called blind trust. Perhaps someone should ask what the cabinet secretary really thinks about it.

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