Former Prime Minister Tony Blair advised Rebekah Brooks how to shield James Murdoch from the fallout of the phone-hacking scandal, the Old Bailey heard today.
In an email exchange between Brooks and Murdoch, Ms Brooks described how Mr Blair acted as an unofficial adviser as the scandal started to emerge, and said she should launch an independent investigation and publish a “Hutton Style report” that would “clear” James Murdoch of any wrongdoing.
The former prime minister also allegedly advised taking sleeping pills during an hour-long conversation with Brooks in July 2011, the hacking trial was told.
According to Brooks, Mr Blair, advised "no rash short-term solutions as they only give you long-term headaches." He also told her to "keep strong" and have a "clear head" in dealing with the fallout of the scandal, the Old Bailey heard.
The email suggests Mr Blair advised that the criminal investigation into activities at the newspaper would “pass” and they should “tough up”.
The email also said Mr Blair would send more detailed advice himself, at a later time.
Tony Blair's office admitted the conversation took place, but said it was simply "informal" advice to ensure a credible inquiry.
A second email exchange between Rebekah Brooks and Mr Murdoch called "Plan B" in which Ms Brooks laid out her intention to keep her job was heard at the Old Bailey phone-hacking trial today.
In it, Ms Brooks suggested former News International chairman Les Hinton and the then editor, Colin Myler, could become scapegoats.
Brooks added: ‘I am ring fenced clearly and properly. It will be written as a slippery slope for me but I hardly have a reputation left.’
She then went on to outline ideas she had for launching the new Sun on Sunday.
Brooks is on trial accused of phone hacking at the News of the World, corruption at The Sun, and perverting the course of justice in July 2011. She denies the charges.