Tony Blair Is Godfather to Rupert Murdoch's Daughter, Wendi Deng Murdoch Reveals
The former British PM had not disclosed the controversial relationship.
LONDON -- In yet another staggering move in the phone hacking scandal, it has emerged that the former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Rupert Murdoch's nine-year old daughter Grace, and was present at the baptism of both the Murdoch's youngest children.
Blair's close association with the Murdoch family, and his presence at the baptism, which took place on the banks of the River Jordan, have never been made public and the former Prime Minister did not appear in any of the photograph's publicized at the time. However, the role of Hugh Jackman and Nicole Kidman -- also godparents to Grace -- was much in evidence at the time.
As multiple investigations are currently being carried out into the extent of the unhealthily close relationships between the Murdoch press and the British government, both the disclosure in the Oct. issue British Vogue magazine by Wendi Deng Murdoch, and the fact that is has been kept secret for so long, will prove extraordinary to the British media and political establishments.
Blair was the PM for a decade until 2007, and still in office when the first News of The World hacking scandal broke, which eventually resulted in former royal reporter Clive Goodman being jailed.
During his premiership Blair was criticized by those within his own party for the close relationship he had with Murdoch, which some read as a betrayal of the left-leaning party’s traditional philosophy.
Now, the charmed relationship hinted at by Blair’s godfather connection will lead some to suggest that he may have been so keen to maintain the relationship with the media mogul that he turned a blind eye to what now appears to be criminal wrong-doing at the media group. As early as this summer, Blair was thought to have tried to persuade Labor MP Tom Watson to stop pursuing the phone-hacking investigation.Although the Vogue article does not quote Wendi Deng specifically, the interview names Jackman, Kidman and Blair as the nine-year-old's godparents. It goes on to say that Blair attended the baptism -- thought to be at the same spot where Jesus was baptized, "garbed in white" and described the former PM as one of Rupert Murdoch's "closest friends."
Blair stepped down as British Prime Minister in 2007.
The interview with Wendi Deng Murdoch took place a few days before her husband and Rupert Murdoch were ignominiously summoned before Parliament to explain their role in the phone-hacking scandal at the News of The World. Promoting her film project, Snow Flower And The Secret Fan, she said that she had had sleepless nights for weeks because of the growing scandal engulfing News Corp.
"Of course, as Rupert's wide, I think it is unfair on him to be going through this...I worry about him being alone. He has no PR people advising him. He tells me not to come but I'm flying to London for the hearing. I want to be with him."
At the hearing, Rupert Murdoch's third wife made headlines around the world when she sensationally slam-dunked a would be pie-thrower who attacked her husband in the committee room of the House of Commons.
So far a criminal investigation into executives at the News of The World has arrested 15 former staff on phone-interception charges and is still continuing. The role of James Murdoch has come under question after he admitted authorizing seven figure payments to phone-hacking victims and his claims that he was not informed that phone-hacking at the paper may have been widespread has been contradicted by former colleagues.
James Murdoch is likely to be recalled to a Parliamentary hearing to give further evidence, while a separate Judicial inquiry into the role of the media and government is being headed by Lord Justice Leveson and is expected to summon Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch to give evidence under oath.
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