Ex-British prime minister's wife signs publishing deal

Posted: Friday, September 21, 2007

LONDON - Cherie Blair has signed a book deal to write about her life as a leading British human rights lawyer and the wife of former Prime Minister Tony Blair, her publisher said Wednesday.

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Cherie Blair's autobiography will be published in October 2008, Little, Brown Book Group said in a statement. The publisher would not discuss the terms of the deal for the book's international publishing rights.

Her memoirs will likely come out before her husband's much-anticipated memoir, which a Blair representative said last month was years away from publication with no book deal yet.

Cherie Blair's publisher said her book would be a "warm, intimate and often very funny portrait of a family living in extraordinary circumstances."

But British political observers will likely be watching for anything she says about the Blairs' reputedly stormy relationship with Tony Blair's successor, Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Cherie Blair, who will be 53 on Sept. 23, is known for being gaffe-prone; her unguarded comments on both international and internal politics have caused trouble. But she is also a respected lawyer.

As a Queen's Counsel, she is recognized as one of Britain's leading human rights lawyers. She has taken on landmark cases that sometimes brought her into conflict with her husband's government.

She fought unsuccessfully last year in Britain's highest court for a high school student's right to wear a body-covering Muslim gown. She also insisted last year that torture was never acceptable and evidence obtained through torture should be inadmissible in court. She spoke after her husband's government was accused of failing to act on the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and the U.S. practice of "extraordinary rendition," the transfer of terror suspects to countries where they may be tortured.

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