A close confidante of the Blairs has appointed the Queen’s solicitors to defend herself from being “hounded” over her private life.
Martha Greene, 48, who was revealed by The Sunday Times last week to have helped with the purchase of the Blairs’ £3.6m London house, has been pestered with false allegations that she once had drink and drug problems.
Any damage to Greene’s reputation would raise questions about the Blairs’ judgment in admitting her to a position of trust in their inner circle.
She has appointed Farrer & Co to make it clear that publications giving any credence to the claims will face legal action. Last week Downing Street officials also contacted the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) on her behalf. The intervention of No 10 signals the determination of the Blairs to prevent their enemies making political capital out of their choice of friends.
Greene said that she was a “peripheral figure” who should not be subjected to media attention. A friend added: “She did help with the purchase because she was asked to. She was keen to help and she gets things done.”
One source close to Greene said that tabloid reporters had “hounded” her elderly father. “He’s an ancient chap. Their treatment of him has been unbelievable,” said the source.
Former colleagues at Saatchi & Saatchi, the advertising agency, have been approached with questions about her behaviour while she was employed in its television department.
Robert Clinton, senior partner at Farrer, said the allegations about drink and drugs were untrue and Greene would take action if they were published. He has made formal complaints about media harassment of her family and invasion of her privacy.
“I have written to editors to say stop it,” he said. “One or two” media outlets were at fault, he added.
This weekend Clinton dismissed as “absolutely wrong” any suggestion that Greene, an American, had once been deported from Britain. He also said he was “not aware” of her having had any problems with work permits.