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Ex-British PM says Murdoch misled inquiry

Monday, June 11, 2012 - 02:17

June 11 - Former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown tells Leveson inquiry that an angry conversation Rupert Murdoch claims took place between the two 'did not happen'. Sonia Legg reports

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He has kept a low profile since he was voted out of power two years ago. But former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown was far from reticent when he appeared at an ongoing inquiry into press ethics. He accused media tycoon Rupert Murdoch of misleading the inquiry by alleging Brown had threatened war against Murdoch's company. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN, SAYING: "This is the conversation that Mr Murdoch says happened between him and me where I threatened him and where I'm alleged to have acted in an imbalanced way. This conversation never took place." Murdoch told the Leveson inquiry under oath that Brown phoned him in September 2009 after the Sun newspaper started supporting the then opposition Conservative Party. Brown vowed to wage war on Murdoch's company in revenge, he testified. But five of Brown's advisers have reportedly submitted statements saying they heard no such threats. (SOUNDBITE) (English) FORMER BRITISH PRIME MINISTER GORDON BROWN, SAYING: "I didn't return calls to News International, I didn't phone Mr Murdoch, I didn't talk to his son, I didn't text him, I didn't email him, I didn't contact him. This was a matter that was done, there was no point in further communication about it at all.", Murdoch's attempt to take full control of satellite broadcaster BSkyB was also discussed. Brown said News International became increasingly "aggressive" about their "public agenda" and said the Conservative Party had consistently showed its support for Murdoch's plans. A point put to the current Finance Minister George Osborne later in the day. (SOUNDBITE)(English) BRITISH CHANCELLOR GEORGE OSBORNE, SAYING: "I didn't have a strong view about its merits because as far as I could see it was just going to cause us trouble one way or the other. I regarded the whole thing as a political inconvenience." Britain is home to some of Murdoch's biggest newspaper and broadcasting interests. The accusations will further tarnish the reputation of the world's most powerful media tycoon. And there's more evidence to come - later this week the current Prime Minister David Cameron will appear at the inquiry. He'll face accusations his party bent government policy to support Murdoch. Sonia Legg, Reuters.

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Ex-British PM says Murdoch misled inquiry

Monday, June 11, 2012 - 02:17