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Sunderland ex-MP’s diary used to quiz Tony Blair at Levenson Inquiry

Sunderland South MP Chris Mullin interviewed by the Echo's Politics Correspondent, Ross Robertson about the publication of his diaries, A View From The Foothills. Picture by Tom Yeoman.

Sunderland South MP Chris Mullin interviewed by the Echo's Politics Correspondent, Ross Robertson about the publication of his diaries, A View From The Foothills. Picture by Tom Yeoman.

A DIARY written by former Wearside MP Chris Mullin was used as evidence in the latest session of the Leveson Inquiry into the press.

The 64-year-old, who was MP for Sunderland South from 1987 to 2010, published three volumes of diaries about the rise of New Labour from 1994.

An extract from his work was read to former Prime Minister Tony Blair as the ex-Labour leader was quizzed about his relationship with the press during a session of the inquiry.

In particular he was asked about whether he had resisted increased calls for press regulation in order to gain favour with media mogul Rupert Murdoch in particular.

Lead counsel Robert Jay QC referred to Mr Mullin’s account of a meeting with Blair in November 1994.

In it, former journalist Mr Mullin wrote that he had been told there was a “prime ministerial interest” in resisting attempts to increase regulation of BSkyB.

Blair is quoted as saying: “My absolute priority is to win. I know it sounds unprincipled but I believe it’s my role in life.”

And Mr Blair confirmed that it sounded like something he would have said.

At the Leveson Inquiry yesterday, he defended his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, insisting he had never done a deal with the media mogul and claiming they only grew close after he quit Downing Street.

Mr Blair, who is godfather to one of Mr Murdoch’s children, told inquiry they had simply had a “working relationship” until after 2007.

Mr Mullin’s diaries have been described as “the central text for understanding the Blair years” and were also adapted for the stage in Michael Chaplin’s “A Walk on Part”.

Before becoming an MP he also worked as a journalist for the Granada current affairs programme World in Action and was famously involved in securing the release of the “Birmingham Six”.

Twitter: @tomwhite7

 
 
 

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