Tony Blair offers to become "unofficial advisor" to Murdoch empire at height of phone hacking crisis, court told

Tony Blair: Offer detailed in e-mail

Rebekah Brooks

James and Rupert Murdoch during their appearance before a select committee

First published in News
Last updated

Tony Blair offered to act as an ''unofficial adviser'' to the Murdoch empire at the height of the phone hacking crisis at the News of the World, prosecutors have said.

The former Prime Minister and Sedgefield MP had an hour-long conversation with editor Rebekah Brooks in July 2011 - the contents of which she sent to boss James Murdoch in an email, the Old Bailey hacking trial was told.

According to Brooks, Mr Blair advised ''no rash short-term solutions as they only give you long-term headaches''.

Instead, the former News of the World and Sun editor said he suggested an independent inquiry which would report back and clear their names in due course.

Mr Blair also allegedly advocated sleeping pills for ''clear heads'' and told Brooks: ''It will pass. Tough up.''

Members of the jury were shown an email Brooks sent to Mr Murdoch on July 11 2011, just days before she was arrested by police.

Here is a transcript on an email sent from Rebekah Brooks to James Murdoch on July 11, 2011, which was shown to a jury at the Old Bailey: ''Only got ten minutes before I see Charlie for confiscation!

But I had an hour on the phone to Tony Blair.

He said: 1. Form an independent unit that has a outside junior council, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal council, proper fact checkers etc in it. Get them to investigate me and others and publish a hutton style report.

2. Publish part one of the report at same time as the police closes its inquiry and clear you and accept short comings and new solutions and process and part two when any trials are over.

3. Keep strong and definitely sleeping pills. Need to have clear heads and remember no rash short term solutions as they only give you long term headaches.

4. It will pass. Tough up.

5. He is available for you, KRM (Rupert Murdoch) and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us.

He is sending more notes later.''

The email was sent in response to one from James Murdoch to Brooks earlier that day which simply said: ''What are you doing on email?''

This was in response to correspondence sent by Brooks earlier that day which said: ''The NotW sale is looking close to 4m. So much for a sales boycott.''

The case continues

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