Ex British PM Brown refutes Murdoch claim on `war`

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 23:21

London: Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown on Wednesday refuted the contention of media baron Rupert Murdoch before the Leveson Inquiry that he had declared "war" on News Corp after The Sun tabloid extended support to the Conservative party in September 2009.

At the time, Brown was the prime minister and struggling to retain his as well as party`s popularity in the face of forthcoming elections in 2010.
The Labour party lost the election in 2010.

Brown said Murdoch`s recall of the conversation and the claim that he declared war on Murdoch`s company was "wholly wrong".

Earlier in the day, Murdoch told the inquiry that he always had "warm relations" with Brown and regretted that the relationship broke down after The Sun supported the Conservative party, which upset Brown.

The two had an uneasy phone conversation about the tabloid`s support.
Recounting the phone conversation with Brown, Murdoch said: "He (Brown) said, and I must stress no voices were raised, he said: `well, your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative to make war on your company.

I said `I`m sorry about that Gordon, thank you for calling` and that was that."
Murdoch claimed that Brown was "not in a balanced state of mind" at the time, but denied reports that Brown "roared" at him during the conversation.

Brown said he did not phone, meet, or write to Murdoch about the The Sun`s decision to support the Conservatives.

He said: "The only phone call I had with Murdoch in the last year of my time in office was a phone call specifically about Afghanistan and his newspaper`s coverage of the war. I hope Murdoch will have the good grace to correct his account."

In his written witness statement to the inquiry, Murdoch described attending breakfast and lunches with Brown in which politics and policy were discussed.

He added: "I am afraid that my personal relationship with Brown suffered after the Sun no longer supported him politically."

PTI



First Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2012 - 23:18

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