Tony Blair at Leveson Inquiry: I made no deal with Rupert Murdoch
FORMER British Prime Minister tells the Leveson Inquiry there was no deal, implied or otherwise, made with Rupert Murdoch's media empire.
Mr Blair insisted he had never agreed to any pact with any media organisation.
"There was no deal on issues to do with the media with Rupert Murdoch, or indeed, anybody else, either expressed or implied and to be fair, he never sought such a thing." He told the Leveson Inquiry.
He added: "When it came to the specific issue in relation to the Murdoch media group, we more often decided against them than in favour."
Mr Blair was quizzed about his now notorious trip to Hayman Island, Australia, in 1995 where he addressed News Corp executives.
Asked if he agreed with the views of then Australian prime minister Paul Keating, who according to Alistair Campbell's diaries said Mr Murdoch was a "big bad -------" and the only way to deal with him was to act the same, Mr Blair said he "didn't quite buy the crudeness" of that assessment.
He added: "I came, in time, to have a different view myself."
Mr Blair said his speech focused on elements he knew the organisation would want to hear mixed in with wider policy arguments.
He added: "I would not have been going all the way round the world if it had not been a very deliberate and very strategic decision that I was going to try to persuade them, and I had a minimum objective."
He added: "The minimum objective was to stop them tearing us to pieces and the maximum objective to open the way to support."