The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

It's very difficult to disentangle cause and effect, and it was partly my own fault that the relationship with the press was not very close. I've just indicated why I thought it ought not to be, and clearly that wasn't very amenable to some sections of the press. But if I may, I'd like to make clear: I haven't come here to complain about my press coverage 15 to 20 years ago. That's long since gone. I've long since moved on from that. I don't want to waste my time or yours complaining about that.

I think I can explain why it was more hostile. I think, firstly, I didn't inherit the naturally close affinity that my predecessor had earned with the press over a long period of time. I hadn't earned it. I didn't have it. It was self-efficiently different.

And on a human level, I think from the point of view of the press, if they have a prime minister they don't know and a prime minister who seems to them to be keeping his distance more than they believe perhaps he ought, it's perfectly understandable that it is easier to be hostile about people you don't know than it is about people you know well. I think that is a basic human emotion and I think that was one of the reasons why they were, in my judgment, less well informed about some of the things we thought and we did at that time, and it worsened after 1992.

In the early 1990 to 1992 period, I certainly wouldn't claim the press were especially hostile. I don't think they were especially supportive, but neither were they hostile. They observed a more even position, the sort of position that I think is probably correct at all times.

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