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Guardian: Tea for two as Brown and Blair woo Murdoch

It must be tiresome, at times, having the two most important men in British politics pleading for your affections. But when you are Rupert Murdoch, being constantly pestered to drop round for tea with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown is all part of the job - even if it is, as he says 'sometimes very inconvenient'.

In an interview with John Cassidy for New Yorker magazine, available from tomorrow in Britain, Murdoch gives his frankest assessment yet of the British political scene, describing Blair as a 'lame duck' ever since he announced he would not serve a full third term, and also disclosing that the rivalry between Blair and Brown is so great that he cannot meet one unless he also sees the other.

There will be groans in Downing Street at the way the media tycoon characterises his relationship with New Labour, portraying its two senior figures as vying for his attention.

Murdoch said Margaret Thatcher did not go out of her way to develop a personal relationship with him as premier, but that he had been courted tirelessly by the current administration.

'Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, whenever I'm in town they say, "Can't you come over for a cup of tea?" When you're invited by the Prime Minister to have a cup of tea, you have a cup of tea. It's sometimes very inconvenient - if you're only there two days and you have a month's work to do. And you have to be careful to have a cup of tea with them both, or they are very suspicious that you are lining up with the other one.'

by Fran on Sun Oct 8th, 2006 at 07:54:28 AM EST
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