Tony Blair offered to act as an “unofficial adviser” to newspaper editor Rebekah Brooks when she sought his guidance at the height of the phone-hacking crisis at the News of the World, prosecutors have told the Old Bailey.
The former prime minister also allegedly advised taking sleeping pills during an hour-long conversation with Brooks in July 2011 — a summary of which the editor sent to boss James Murdoch in an email, the hacking trial was told.
According to Brooks, Mr Blair, who stood down after a decade as prime minister in 2007, advised “no rash short-term solutions as they only give you long-term headaches”.
Instead, the former News of the World (NotW) and Sun editor told Mr Murdoch that Mr Blair suggested holding an independent inquiry which would report back and clear their names in due course.
Mr Blair also allegedly told Brooks: “It will pass. Tough up.”
Prosecutor Andrew Edis QC read members of the jury an email Brooks sent to Mr Murdoch on July 11, 2011, just days before she was arrested by police.
In it, she relayed the telephone conversation she had with the former premier.
The prosecution case has now finished and Brooks’s defence is expected to start today.
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