Leveson Inquiry: Tony Blair impressed me, says Rupert Murdoch


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The Independent Online

Rupert Murdoch has been impressed by Tony Blair for a long time and today regards him as a personal friend, he told the Leveson Inquiry.

He said he frequently met Mr Blair while he was leader of the opposition and prime minister, and enjoyed speaking to him before, during and after his time in office.

The media mogul recalled the then-Labour leader travelling to Hayman Island in Australia to address the annual News Corporation conference in July 1995.

"He spoke convincingly about the ability of a new Labour Party to energise Britain," he said in a written witness statement.

"I do recall believing that Mr Blair and the policies he advocated could help revitalise Britain, and sharing that view with newspaper editors at the conference, who were also impressed by Mr Blair's speech."

Mr Murdoch added: "Mr Blair did not expressly request our support in 1995, 1997 or any other election, but he was a politician and I had no doubt that he would welcome the support of our newspapers and our readers."

He said he sometimes met Mr Blair while he was prime minister only once or twice a year, but in other years their meetings were more frequent.

They discussed topics including street crime, health policy, European integration, the euro, Islamic terrorism, Iraq and Afghanistan.