Rupert Murdoch took part in an “over-crude” attempt by US Republicans to push Tony Blair into action before the invasion of Iraq, the former British prime minister’s ex-media chief claimed Saturday.Alastair Campbell said the News Corporation media baron warned Blair in a phone call of the dangers in delaying signing up to the March 19, 2003 invasion, as part of an attempt to speed up Britain joining the military campaign.
The claim came in “The Burden of Power: Countdown to Iraq” — the final volumes of Campbell’s diaries from his years at Blair’s side, which are being serialised in The Guardian newspaper.Campbell suggested Murdoch made moves to help the right-wing Republican Party of then US president George W. Bush before the March 18 vote in the British parliament’s lower House of Commons on deploying troops to Iraq, which was passed.On March 11, 2003, Campbell wrote that Blair “took a call from Murdoch who was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc.
“Both TB and I felt it was prompted by Washington, and another example of their over-crude diplomacy. Murdoch was pushing all the Republican buttons, how the longer we waited the harder it got.”The following day he added: “TB felt the Murdoch call was odd, not very clever.”News International is News Corp.’s British newspaper arm, publishing The Times, The Sun and The Sunday Times.
Category: World, World News