Blair, Murdoch and the offer of phone-hacking help

By staff

Tony Blair offered to provide informal assistance to Rebekah Brookes and Rupert Murdoch at the height to the phone-hacking scandal, it has emerged.

A document sent by Brooks to James Murdoch on July 11 2011 – just days before she was arrested – said the former prime minister had told her to:

1. Form an independent unit that has an outside junior counsel, Ken Macdonald, a great and good type, a serious forensic criminal barrister, internal counsel, 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 your shortcomings 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 (James Murdoch), KRM (Rupert Murdoch) and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us.

The advice came during an hour-long conversation with the former Labour prime minister.

A spokesperson for Blair said: "This was Mr Blair simply giving informal advice over the phone. He made it absolutely clear to Ms Brooks that, though he knew nothing personally about the facts of the case, in a situation as serious as this it was essential to have a fully transparent and independent process to get to the bottom of what had happened. That inquiry should be led by credible people, get all the facts out there and that if anything wrong were found there should be immediate action taken and the changes to the organisation made so that they could not happen again.

"Mr Blair said that if what he was being told by her was correct, and there had been no wrongdoing, then a finding to that effect by a credible Inquiry would be far better than an internal and therefore less credible investigation."

Brooks maintained a friendship with Blair and with David Cameron.

The former Labour prime minister is also godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch's children.