Tony Blair accused of being ‘war criminal’ by protester at Leveson Inquiry

15:50 28 May 2012

Former prime minister Tony Blair arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards. Photo: Max Nash/PA Wire

Former prime minister Tony Blair arrives to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into press standards. Photo: Max Nash/PA Wire

The Leveson Inquiry into press standards was interrupted today when a protester burst in as former prime minister Tony Blair was giving evidence and yelled “this man should be arrested for war crimes.”

The protester, who told reporters his name was David Lawley Wakelin, managed to evade security and access the court room through a secure corridor.

The 49-year-old, who said he was from the Alternative Iraq Enquiry, brought proceedings to a halt by hurling accusations at the former Prime Minister.

He was eventually wrestled to the ground by three men and ejected from the court room before being arrested.

Lord Justice Leveson called for an immediate inquiry into how he had got in.

The protester was escorted through the Royal Courts of Justice by security guards and was seen being driven away in a police van.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “He has been arrested on suspicion of breach of the peace.

“He’s currently in custody at a central London police station.”

During his evidence Mr Blair today defended his relationship with Rupert Murdoch, insisting he had never done a deal with the media mogul and claiming they only grew close after he quit Downing Street.

The former prime minister, who is godfather to one of Mr Murdoch’s children, told the Leveson Inquiry they had simply had a “working relationship” until after 2007.

Mr Blair said he had been in a powerful position, as prime minister, and Mr Murdoch had been in a powerful position as boss of a media empire.

“It was a relationship about power,” said Mr Blair. “I find these relationships are not personal, they are working, to me.”

Asked about his relationship with former News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks, Mr Blair was in qualified agreement with Ms Brooks’s description of it.

She has described formal, informal and social meetings with him and called him “a constant presence in my life for many years”.

Asked if he thought this was accurate, Mr Blair replied: “Yeah, if I take the whole of the relationship within government, but then I think I would say that about most of the senior political media people.”

He confirmed Ms Brooks had had access to him whenever she wanted it but stressed that all prime ministers would almost certainly have seen “media managing” as a major part of the job.

He never changed his policies to please the Murdoch press, he insisted, and had stuck to what he believed in on issues ranging from the trade unions to Europe.

Related articles

Sign up for our news alerts today!

Our editors' picks for the day's top news delivered to your inbox or phone.

Sign up for email alerts Sign up for mobile alerts
1
2 3 4 5 6
7

Latest London politics news

Thursday, May 5, 2016
The mayoral election winner will take over from Boris at City Hall (PA)

The polling stations for the 2016 London mayoral election close at 10pm tonight. Wondering what time the winner the mayoral election 2016 will be announced?

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Voters have been sent multiple polling cards in an administrative error (Picture: PA Images)

Hackney residents could potentially be voting more than once in today’s elections after being sent multiple polling cards, while others arrived to vote and realised they had been left off the register altogether.

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Lola the Beagle is voting Left in the London Mayoral elections (Picture: @GraceTrev / Twitter)

We might not all be political animals, but London-dwelling dogs are. Today social media was flooded with pictures of puppies and their owners voting together in the London Mayoral election 2016.

Thursday, May 5, 2016
(Photo: Graeme Robertson/Getty Images)

Voters in Barnet were turned away from polling stations if they didn’t have their polling cards, due to a mix-up with the electoral lists this morning

Thursday, May 5, 2016
Who will London elect?

Londoners will vote today to choose who will be Boris Johnson’s successor after his eight-year stint as Mayor of London.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016
How tall is Zac Goldsmith? Is Siân Berry married? Google searches reveal what Londoners really care about (Picture: Getty / London24)

Is there any point voting for Caroline Pidgeon? Why was George Galloway ousted as an MP? Not the musings of the London24 news team, but the top questions typed into Google about the London Mayoral candidates. Take a look...

What is this?

Near You Now

Don't Miss...

Competitions

Kindle 7 inch tablet

Are you looking for a brand new gadget to help you stay connected on the go and make that long journey home a bit more entertaining? Look no further. MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Kindle Fire 7” Display Tablets! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more
Yummy traditional afternoon teas for two

MyOffers is giving you the chance to win 1 of 50 Traditional Afternoon Teas for two at a location of your choice! That’s 50 times more chances to win, so hurry up and enter our competition today and you could be one of our lucky winners!

Read more

Latest Tech News

Transport