Tony Blair accused of trying to silence Rupert Murdoch critic
Tony Blair urged Gordon Brown to persuade the Labour MP who led the campaign to expose the phone-hacking scandal to fall silent, according to a report yesterday.
The Mail on Sunday stated that "well-placed" sources said Mr Blair had sought to encourage Mr Brown to ask his supporter Tom Watson to back off. A "friend of Mr Brown" was quoted as saying: "There is no doubt about it, Tony wanted Gordon to intervene." Mr Watson, who claimed last week that News International had entered "the criminal underworld", was reported to have been told that Rebekah Brooks, News International's chief executive, "will pursue you for the rest of your life".
Earlier this year, another Labour MP, Chris Bryant, said in a Commons speech that a senior figure allied to Mr Murdoch had warned his friends that speaking out about the scandal would not be forgotten.
Members of the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee claim they were warned off calling Ms Brooks to give evidence to them in the committee's inquiry about phone hacking.
News International last night made no comment in response to the claims about Ms Brooks' alleged attempt to put pressure on Mr Watson to back off.
A spokesman for Mr Blair, who enjoyed a cordial relationship with News International's proprietor Rupert Murdoch, denied the claim by the Mail on Sunday. The spokesman said: "The allegation is categorically untrue." Mr Brown's office declined to comment.
Mr Watson told The Independent: "Senior people told me that was the case but I have not spoken to Tony or Gordon about it."
That's some guestlist! Stunning images show huge dynastic wedding between Ultra-Orthodox Jewish families which attracted 25,000 guests
'He was always smiling': Lee Rigby named as Woolwich victim
Heathrow airport reopens runways after British Airways plane 'on fire over London' makes emergency landing
Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
Exclusive: Woolwich killings suspect Michael Adebolajo was inspired by cleric banned from UK after urging followers to behead enemies of Islam
- 1 Pope Francis: Being an atheist is alright as long as you do good
- 2 What, let gays get married? We must be bonkers
- 3 'Something passed underneath us, quite close': Airbus A320 has close encounter with UFO
- 4 Lord of the Sings: Sir Christopher Lee, 91, to release heavy metal album
- 5 Two bailed after arrest over Woolwich attack Twitter comments
BMF is the UK’s biggest and best loved outdoor fitness classes
Find out what The Independent's resident travel expert has to say about one of the most beautiful small cities in the world
Nook is donating eReaders to volunteers at high-need schools and participating in exclusive events throughout the campaign.
Get the latest on The Evening Standard's campaign to get London's children reading.
Win anything from gadgets to five-star holidays on our competitions and offers page.