May 25, 2013
UK’s former PM challenges Murdoch for misleading inquiry
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused media tycoon Rupert Murdoch today of misleading a government-sponsored inquiry into press ethics with incorrect testimony alleging Brown had threatened war against Murdoch's company.
"This conversation never took place. I am shocked and surprised that it should be suggested," Brown told the Leveson inquiry. "This call did not happen. The threat was not made."
"I find it shocking," Brown said."This did not happen. There is no evidence that it happened other than Mr Murdoch's but it didn't happen."
Murdoch had told the inquiry under oath that Brown phoned him in September 2009 after the Sun newspaper started supporting the Conservative Party. Brown vowed to wage war on Murdoch's company in revenge, he testified.
Brown, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2010, said that Murdoch was wrong about both the date and the contents of the phone call.
A former British leader accusing Murdoch of misleading the inquiry under oath will further tarnish the reputation of the world's most powerful media tycoon in a country which is home to some of his biggest newspaper and broadcasting interests.
A British parliamentary committee which investigated allegations of illegal phone-hacking by Murdoch publications has already deemed the Australian-born tycoon unfit to manage a major global company.
Brown also challenged a version of events given by Murdoch's deputy, Rebekah Brooks, about a Sun report that Brown's four-month-old son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.
Brooks, a close Murdoch confidante who was charged last month with interfering with a police investigation into the phone hacking scandal, told the inquiry the Browns had given their backing to the story.
"I have never sought to bring my children into the public domain," Brown said. He denied his consent had been given to publish the story.