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Plot to kidnap Blair son 'foiled'

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Leo with his parents Cherie and Tony after Blair's election victory last year.

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Tony Blair
Leo Blair

LONDON, England -- A British fathers' rights group says it will disband after a newspaper reported that extremist group members planned to kidnap Prime Minister Tony Blair's 5-year-old son.

Citing an unnamed security source, The Sun newspaper on Wednesday said people on the fringe of the Fathers 4 Justice (F4J) group aimed to snatch 5-year-old Leo Blair and hold him for a short period.

Following the report, the group -- which campaigns for the rights of divorced fathers -- confirmed that police had questioned some of its former members before Christmas.

According to media reports, police foiled the plan at an early stage, and it was unclear whether the people involved had the capability to carry it out or how far the scheme had progressed.

The reports said the threat was uncovered before Christmas while officers were investigating people who had been associated with the fringes of the group.

Leaders of the group denied any involvement, and one of its founding members, Matt O'Connor, said he condemned the idea of kidnapping Blair's son "unreservedly."

O'Connor later told Channel 4 News the group would disband: "We will cease all operations and bring the campaign to a close."

Earlier, in a statement on the group's Web site, O'Connor said: "After peacefully campaigning for three years to ensure children get to see their fathers, we condemn any individual who planned this appalling outrage which is anathema to our campaign.

"I have three young boys myself and couldn't think of anything more traumatic for Mr. Blair, his family and his son than what is reported in this morning's Sun newspaper; however, we should approach the story with caution as it carries very little information in it.

"If the police have enough information they should not only release the names of those involved but prosecute them. This kind of coverage unravels all the good work we have done over the last three years, though I despair that the desperation of fathers only reflects the intransigence of the government to address the crisis in family law."

Scotland Yard and Downing Street refused to comment.

Apart from Leo, Blair and his wife, Cherie, have three other children -- Euan, 21, Nicholas, 20, and Kathryn, 17.

Members of F4J have previously scaled high-profile buildings, including Buckingham Palace, dressed as superheroes, and campaigners threw purple powder at the prime minister as he was speaking in the House of Commons.

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