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Murdoch 'pushed Blair over Iraq'

Rupert Murdoch was part of an "over-crude" attempt to push Tony Blair into action in Iraq, Alastair Campbell has claimed.

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Alastair Campbell: Murdoch said 'nothing inappropriate'

Tony Blair's former spokesman Alastair Campbell has sought to "contextualise" comments in his diary that suggest Rupert Murdoch lobbied the Prime Minister over the Iraq war.

Writing in his blog, Mr Campbell says he supports New Corporation's point that he has no evidence to back up his claim, pointing out that the comments were only a small aside in his account of a busy day:

It is ... evidence of the extraordinary topicality and controversy of the Murdoch brand that out of 700 pages of a book covering the momentous period from 9/11 to the Iraq War, The Guardian should lead their coverage on a very short entry about this phone call.

He also writes that Mr Murdoch's comments were "nothing inappropriate".

There was actually nothing inappropriate in what he [Rupert Murdoch] said. He was clearly wanting to signal support, and given TB’s [Tony Blair's] views on Iraq, and his determination to deal with Saddam absolute, it is really pushing it to suggest this call contradicts Murdoch’s statement that he ‘never asked a Prime Minister for anything.’ TB was clearly irritated though, and we did feel the arguments were those coming at us in all directions from the US Administration.

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