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Spelling gaffe hits the headlines

PUBLISHED: 12:30 22 November 2001 | UPDATED: 10:53 03 March 2010

IPSWICH today hit the national headlines as the Evening Star proved itself ahead of the pack.

For the country's media scrambled to keep up following the Star's exclusive front page story which broke the story of Tony Blair's embarrassing spelling mistake.

IPSWICH today hit the national headlines as the Evening Star proved itself ahead of the pack.

For the country's media scrambled to keep up following the Star's exclusive front page story which broke the story of Tony Blair's embarrassing spelling mistake.

Tomorrow clearly was another day as GMTV, the BBC, and practically every national newspaper was left snapping at the Star's heels as it revealed Oxford-educated Tony Blair misspelled "tomorrow" as "toomorrow" three times in a good luck message to his party's by-election candidate, Chris Mole.

The Mirror looked no further than the Star's own headline 'Toony Blair" as it ran, with the help of a handwriting expert, the story of a man who trumpeted "education, education, education" as a 1997 election pledge. The expert astutely observed: "Tony Blair simply appears to be a poor speller of the word tomorrow."

The Star contacted a handwriting expert and his conclusion was that if someone is a bad speller "it could be they are just tired, that they are dyslexic, that they are less educated – or perhaps a liar".

And this was clearly the line taken by the Daily Telegraph – who were so incensed by the grammatical foul-up they ran the story on its front page and addressed the issue in its leader column.

"For the Prime Minister there are no tomorrows; only toomorrows," its journalist sighed as the paper's leader rounded on Chris Mole's "illiterate" leader.

"As if the misspelling wasn't bad enough, Mr Blair's spokesman came up with a woeful excuse – the Prime Minister just has unusual handwriting – that falls apart with the briefest examination of the letter," it thundered. "To add one "o" looks like a slip of the pen; to add three looks like wilful disregard of a fine Fettes and Oxford education. At least Dan Quayle spelt potato wrongly only once."

BBC Radio Four's own Rottweiler John Humphrys gruffly dismissed – on the influential Today programme – claims by Labour spin doctors that it was merely a flourish of the Premier's handwriting.

The Times asked on its second page whether the Star's hot scoop was "a carefully planned Labour publicity stunt", quoting a Labour aide saying: "The candidate is delighted and the Prime Minister thinks it's worth a little bit of embarrassment if it gets the Ipswich by-election some publicity."

Yet what the hacks in the rarefied heights of The Times didn't know was the note came direct from the Labour campaign, who brandished the good-luck note, proud-as-punch.

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