And suddenly the Labour crowing stops. Tony Blair has landed slap bang in the middle of the phone-hacking trials, as they resume this afternoon. An email from Rebekah Brooks to James Murdoch makes for delicious reading.
Over the course of an hour long phone call just after the Screws had closed down, Blair allegedly gave Brooks the following advice on 11 July 2011:
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 short comings 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, KRM and me as an unofficial adviser but needs to be between us
Surely our Tone wouldn’t be so blasé about the Hutton Report, that whitewashed his government’s involvement with the David Kelly affair?
And whatever could be behind this late discovery of such inconvenient evidence for Tony?
UPDATE: Statement by a spokesperson for Tony Blair:
“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.”
Nothing to see here…