Lance Price: Rupert Murdoch is effectively a member of Blair’s cabinet | Comment is free | The Guardian
There is no small irony in the fact that Tony Blair flew halfway round the world to address Mr Murdoch and his News International executives in the first year of his leadership of the Labour party and that he’s doing so again next month in what may prove to be his last.
I have never met Mr Murdoch, but at times when I worked at Downing Street he seemed like the 24th member of the cabinet. His voice was rarely heard (but, then, the same could have been said of many of the other 23) but his presence was always felt.
No big decision could ever be made inside No 10 without taking account of the likely reaction of three men – Gordon Brown, John Prescott and Rupert Murdoch. On all the really big decisions, anybody else could safely be ignored.
I was reminded just how touchy Downing Street is about Mr Murdoch when I submitted the manuscript of my book, The Spin Doctor’s Diary, to the Cabinet Office. The government requested some changes, as is its right. When the first batch came through, it was no surprise that Tony Blair’s staff were deeply unhappy. The real surprise was that no fewer than a third of their objections related to one man – not Tony Blair or even Gordon Brown, as I might have expected, but Rupert Murdoch.