Former British prime minister John Major has stepped out of the shadows to launch an astonishing attack on Tony Blair.
Major accused his successor of eroding the trust of the people and undermining parliament.
In his first significant political intervention since retiring from parliament two years ago, the former Conservative leader denounced the Labour prime minister's manipulation of the media as "the pornography of politics".
In a pamphlet published by the Centre for Policy Studies and inserted in Friday's right-wing Daily Telegraph newspaper, Major said Blair's apparent indifference to the views of parliament and cynical news management had "done immense damage to politics".
"It is fatal to the conduct of policy if the word of any government is disbelieved until proven beyond doubt to be true," Major said.
"The erosion of trust has now reached the point where it is undermining the ability of the government to call on the trust of the people," said Major.
Major was the last Conservative leader in power. Taking over from iron Lady Margaret Thatcher, he was prime minister from 1990 until the Conservatives lost 1997 general elections to the Labour Party led by Blair.
Major has up until now resisted requests for interviews since he retired from active politics.
But in the pamphlet titled "The Erosion of Parliamentary Government", Major said: "Spin is the pornography of politics. It perverts. It is deceit licensed by the government."
"Statistics massaged. Expenditure announced and reannounced. The record reassessed. Blame attributed. Innocence proclaimed. Black declared white: all in a day's work."
Over the last year polls have shown voters losing trust in Blair especially over the war in Iraq, while his office has been accused of manipulating the media and obsesssing over news management.
In August, top aide Alastair Campbell stepped down as Blair's director of communications after becoming embroiled in a feud with the BBC over allegations the he "sexed up" a government dossier on Iraq and weapons of mass destruction.