Murdoch’s courtship of Blair finally pays off – News – The Independent
In 1992 Murdoch’s flagship Sun claimed it had scuppered Labour’s election chances by suggesting that if Neil Kinnock won, the last person to leave Britain should turn out the lights. The day after the election it boasted “It was the Sun wot won it!”.
Even before he became leader, Mr Blair met Mr Murdoch at a dining club in Belgravia. It was reported that the tycoon was impressed by the politician’s “puppy-dog, youthful, company-lawyer image”.
Once Mr Blair was elected, things moved quickly. Mr Murdoch gave an interview to Der Spiegel magazine in which he mused: “Last year we helped the Labour government in Canberra. I could even imagine supporting Tony Blair.” In September 1994, the two men and their wives were dining in the private room of a London restaurant with Gus Fischer, chief executive of News International. Although there was no talk of how Mr Blair could help Mr Murdoch, there were separate meetings with Mr Fischer at which “issues of mutual interest” were discussed.
By March 1995, there were reports that Labour plans for cross-media ownership would not force Mr Murdoch to sell any of his empire. And a year into his leadership, Mr Blair was on Hayman Island, Australia, listening to praise from Mr Murdoch at the News Corporation conference for his “courage” in attending.