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Blair allegations suggest 'dodgy back-story' at News UK

19 February 2014

Commenting on today’s allegations in the media phone-hacking trial that former prime minister Tony Blair had offered advice to Rebekah Brooks on handling claims about the role of the News of the World, Michelle Stanistreet, National Union of Journalists general secretary, said:

"Today's evidence shows just how close the relationship is between Britain's former prime minister and Rupert Murdoch's most senior executives: that Tony Blair went out of his way to provide detailed advice to Rebekah Brooks on how she could choreograph a 'Hutton-style' inquiry – one cynically and deliberately designed to come up with an outcome to exonerate Brooks whilst fobbing off the general public with an admission of some 'shortcomings'. It certainly says a lot about Mr Blair's approach to the Hutton inquiry.
"Today's revelations show the dodgy back-story that led to News UK's establishment of the Management and Standards Committee – the independent entity recommended by Tony Blair as the way of manufacturing a clean bill of health for his erstwhile friend Rupert's nearest and dearest.
"The outcome of this process was that journalistic sources were outed and compromised in unprecedented fashion, leading to the arrests and imprisonment of many, and the detention and ongoing trials of many of News UK's loyal journalists. The damaging legacy of this is that whistleblowers no longer have the same faith that journalists in this country can protect their confidentiality and identity."

Tags: , news uk, news international, rebekah brooks, rupert murdoch, tony blair, newspapers, management and standards group