Murdoch thinks 'lame duck' Blair should hand over to Brown soon

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Indy Politics

Tony Blair is a "lame duck" Prime Minister who made a "terrible mistake" in declaring his intention not to fight a fourth general election, according to Rupert Murdoch.

In his frankest interview yet about the current British political scene, the media baron reveals how he is pestered to have cups of tea by both Tony Blair and Gordon Brown when he is in London, and finds it "sometimes very inconvenient".

"Whenever I'm in town, they say: 'Can't you come over for a cup of tea?' When you're invited by the Prime Minister to have a cup of tea, you have a cup of tea. It's sometimes very inconvenient - if you're only there two days and you have a month's work to do. And you have to be careful to have a cup of tea with them both, or they are very suspicious that you are lining up with the other one."

His remarks, in an interview with John Cassidy for The New Yorker, sheds a revealing light on the personal rivalry between the PM and the Chancellor. The tycoon showed his keenness for Mr Blair to leave soon and hand over to Mr Brown, because he was losing his authority.

"[We've]seen his authority ebb away, a little bit at a time. The sooner we can see a face-off between Gordon and Cameron, the sooner we can see the future." He did not indicate who his newspapers would back, but he hinted that the battle was for Brown to lose.