Monday, July 16, 2007


From the Independent on Sunday:
Rupe and Tony: the truth behind the affair beckons
By Henry Deedes
Published: 15 June 2007

* When Tony Blair criticised the British press this week (reserving a special mention for this newspaper), he strangely made no reference to his chums over at Rupert Murdoch's Newscorp.

It provoked further accusations that the Prime Minister has enjoyed far too cosy a relationship with the "dirty digger" for the past 14 years. But after a lengthy struggle, we may soon find out just how cosy their friendship has been.

For the past two years, the Lib Dem peer Lord Avebury, above left, has been trying to obtain dates of conversations between the pair from 2003 to 2005 using the Freedom of Information Act.

Last year, the Cabinet Office informed him they would only reveal the Prime Minister spoke to Murdoch in March 2003 in an official capacity, refusing to disclose further conversations, because they were held either in private or party political circumstances.

Avebury argues that they would both discuss the same matters in whatever circumstances and therefore the other dates are a matter of public interest. He has now finally been granted a tribunal hearing to contest that decision, conveniently at the end of August, two months after Blair's departure.

"Tony Blair might be gone by then but it will at least show the next Prime Minister they can't keep these meetings secret," Avebury tells me.

"It is just not believable Tony Blair has only had one meeting with Rupert Murdoch during that time. This is a matter which is in the public interest."

Yesterday's ping-pong 2-1 to JW, cumulative score since my operation in April 2006 55-55

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