LONDON (AP) — Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was questioned Monday by an inquiry into media ethics set up to deal with the fallout from the phone hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. media empire.
Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, is godfather to one of the powerful tycoon's children and his former Labour government has been described by several colleagues as being too close to Murdoch and his media empire.
Blair testified that there was "inevitably" going to be "close interaction" between top politicians and senior media figures. "That has always been the case and that will always be the case."
He added that "it'd be strange frankly if senior politicians and senior journalists didn't have those interactions."
Blair's appearance kicks off an important week at the judge-led inquiry.
Several senior politicians have appeared at the investigation set up last year in the wake of a phone hacking scandal when it emerged that reporters at the Murdoch-owned News of the World tabloid had routinely hacked into the phones of public figure and crime victims.
Lord Justice Brian Leveson is examining whether British politicians failed to curb the activities of the rogue newspaper because they were too close — or too scared — to cross the country's media.
Current ministers including culture secretary Jeremy Hunt, education minister Michael Gove and home secretary Theresa May will also appear this week.