Full Disclosure With James O'Brien: Tony Blair

5 March 2019, 18:19 | Updated: 26 March 2019, 09:53

James O'Brien grilled Tony Blair on whether he cosied up too much to the right-wing press in the first episode of Full Disclosure.

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James spoke in-depth and candidly to the former Prime Minister in a wide-ranging interview.

And it was the section on the causes of Brexit which listeners found most fascinating as James asked whether Mr Blair felt his close relationship with the Mail and The Sun helped cement anti-EU sentiment in the UK.

James asked: "Do you feel in retrospect that you and Alastair Campbell tried a little bit too hard to keep certain elements of the press onside?

"I know the obvious answer is 'We wouldn't have won elections without them'.

"But if you look at someone like Paul Dacre for example, and his - to use that dreadful word - legacy, a lot of the problems we are discussing probably wouldn't have happened if it wasn't for the editorial line of the Daily Mail."

Tony Blair deep in thought on James O'Brien's podcast
Tony Blair deep in thought on James O'Brien's podcast. Picture: LBC

Shifting in his seat, Mr Blair paused before responding: "Yep, it's a fair point. It's a criticism I often think about.

"It's difficult though, because it's one thing to think about it 10 years after you left. It's another to think back 20 years when you were trying to get in."

James summed up his point: "There was a bit of a deal with the devil, then. It's interesting to see your face as you reflect on that.

"That's a genuine three o'clock in the morning moment where you think 'did we bow down too low to Paul Dacre and Rupert Murdoch?'"

The full interview is a fascinating look at the world with the former Prime Minister. Among the other topics they discussed are:

- What policy decision keeps Tony Blair up at night?

- What is his view on the anti-Semitism row in the Labour Party?

- Could he quit Labour and join The Independent Group?

- How does he feel about the fact that people dislike him so much over his policy on the Iraq War?

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