Former British prime minister Tony Blair will testify next week at a press ethics inquiry set up following a phone-hacking scandal at Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World, the inquiry said Friday.
Blair, Britain’s Labour premier between 1997 and 2007, is likely to be asked by the Leveson Inquiry about the nature of his government’s links to Murdoch’s US-based media empire News Corp. when he gives testimony on Monday.
The 59-year-old, who will give a full day of evidence, is godfather to one of Murdoch’s children, while Britain’s biggest-selling newspaper, the Murdoch-owned Sun, backed him in three elections.
Culture minister Jeremy Hunt, who has battled calls to resign over evidence heard by the inquiry, will also give a full day of evidence on Thursday.
The Leveson Inquiry published emails last month revealing that Hunt’s office leaked information to News Corp. about its bid to gain full control of pay-TV giant BSkyB.
News Corp. was forced in July to drop the bid for the highly profitable broadcaster, of which it still controls 39 percent, amid public outcry over the phone-hacking scandal.
Australian-born Murdoch, 81, was forced to close the News of the World tabloid in July amid a storm of revelations that it accessed the voicemail messages of a murdered teenage girl as well as dozens of public figures.