Tony Blair faces Leveson Inquiry

Tony Blair is to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry

Tony Blair is to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry

First published in National News © by

Tony Blair will be back at centre stage when he appears at the Leveson Inquiry to be questioned about his relations with the media.

The former prime minister is likely to be asked about the nature of his and his government's links with Rupert Murdoch's media empire during his 13 years at the helm of the Labour Party, including a decade in Downing Street.

He can expect questions over whether he allowed his relationship with Mr Murdoch and News International to become too close, as his former lieutenant Lord Mandelson told the inquiry on Monday.

Lord Mandelson said it was "arguably the case... that personal relationships between Mr Blair, (Gordon) Brown and Rupert Murdoch became closer than was wise".

Mr Blair famously flew to Hayman Island in Australia to address News Corp executives in 1995, as part of a Labour strategy to gain a hearing with newspapers which had savaged previous leaders Michael Foot and Neil Kinnock.

And it emerged last year that he formed a close enough relationship with Mr Murdoch to become the godfather to one of the media tycoon's children in 2010.

Mr Blair's appearance comes at the start of a high-profile week for the Leveson Inquiry, with beleaguered Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt set to give evidence on Thursday.

Mr Hunt will also face a grilling over his office's links with Mr Murdoch's News Corp, particularly during its bid to take over the satellite broadcaster BSkyB. He will be challenged over whether his public expressions of support for the bid were compatible with the quasi-judicial role he was given by Prime Minister David Cameron.

There was unconfirmed speculation this weekend that Mr Cameron himself is due to appear two weeks later, on Thursday June 14, and that Chancellor George Osborne could yet be called to give evidence in person.

Education Secretary Michael Gove and Home Secretary Theresa May will appear on Tuesday and Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke on Wednesday. Also due to give evidence on Wednesday is Business Secretary Vince Cable, who was stripped of the role of deciding whether the bid could proceed last December after he was secretly recorded saying he had "declared war" on Mr Murdoch.

Comments (1)

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8:53am Mon 28 May 12

Nebs says...

This should be good for a laugh.
This should be good for a laugh. Nebs
  • Score: 0
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