WORLD NEWS TOMORROW:March 19, 2003 was the third call made from Mr Blair to Mr Murdock, eight days before the beginning of the British offensive in Iraq.
Mr Blair could not have gone to war without the “implacable support” of Mr Murdoch’s newspaper was denied as “speculation” earlier to the inquiry from media tycoon, Paul Dacre, the editor of the Daly Mail. Mr Murdoch said that he “favoured the war” and added “what I am sure about is that I would not in any telephone call have conveyed a secret message of support for the war, the N1 titles”. Iraq’s position was a matter of public record before March 11, 2003.
According to a book by journalist Andrew Neil, Mr Murdoch met Mr Blair in a Belgravia Club for a private dinner, the inquiry heard in 1994 whereafter Mr Murdoch said to Mr Blair “well,. He certainly says all the right things, but we’re not letting our pants down just yet”. Asked by Robert Jay QC, counsel to the inquiry, whether this was the “sort of thing he might have said”, Mr Murdoch replied “Yes”. He also referred to an occasion in 1995 when he at his behest spoke at a conference in Australia.
Mr Jay asked whether he apparently said to Blair “If our flirtation is ever consummated, Toney, then I suspect we will end up making love like porcupines – very very carefully” to which Murdoch replied “I might have”.