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Tony Blair 'is godfather' to Rupert Murdoch's daughter

The former British prime minister’s close link to the media tycoon has been revealed in a magazine interview with Murdoch’s wife.

Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch (File photos)
Tony Blair and Rupert Murdoch (File photos)
Image: PA Wire/PA Wire/Press Association Images

IT HAS BEEN reported that Tony Blair is godfather to one of Rupert Murdoch’s young children.

The revelation features in an interview which Murdoch’s third wife Wendi Deng gave to Vogue magazine, published this Thursday, in which it is stated that the former British prime minister was present at the baptism of Murdoch’s two daughters on the banks of the river Jordan in March last year.

The disclosure will prove highly embarrassing for Blair, whose close relationship with the media tycoon is under particular scrutiny following the recent furore over the phone hacking scandal, according to the Telegraph.

Blair was reported to have asked his successor Gordon Brown to pressure Labour MP Tom Watson to drop his investigation into the scandal which has so far seen the News of the World shut down, two senior UK police officers resign, and a number of former executives at the Muroch-owned News International arrested.

The Vogue article does not directly quote Deng as saying Blair is godfather to nine-year-old Grace but the article states that Nicole Kidman, Hugh Jackman and Blair are godparents and that Blair attended the ceremony “garbed in white,” at the spot where Jesus is said to have been baptised.

The Guardian reports that there has been no previous mention of Blair’s role in the ceremony despite it being reported widely in celebrity gossip magazines at the time.

A spokesperson for the current Middle East envoy has declined to comment on the link.

In the wide-ranging interview Deng, who came to  prominence after she slapped an activist who pied her husband as he was giving evidence to a parliamentary committee in July, says that Murdoch considers Blair to be one of his closet friends.

This is in contrast to Blair’s memoirs, published last year, in which he wrote: “I thought Rupert an enigma, and the more I knew of him, the more I thought it so,” adding he had “a grudging respect and even liking for him.”

It is well known that Blair spent years courting the support of Murdoch and his influential Sun newspaper. In 1995, he addressed a News Corporation event in Australia and would later win the backing of The Sun ahead of a landslide 1997 election victory.

The Sun backed Blair’s governments throughout his tenure before withdrawing support and switching its allegiances back to the Conservative Party at the general election last year.

This latest revelation comes as the Leveson Inquiry into press standards and the phone hacking scandal gets underway tomorrow at 10.30am. It will hear “applications from individuals who have sought to be core participants in his inquiry,” according to hackinginquiry.org.

Meet the Murdochs – the family behind the headlines >

Read more on the hacking scandal >

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About the author:

Hugh O'Connell

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