British ex-PM Brown blasts Murdoch press at inquiry

Former British prime minister Gordon Brown repeatedly criticised Rupert Murdoch's newspapers in his evidence to a press ethics inquiry Monday, denying his policies were ever influenced by the tycoon.

Brown, Labour premier from 2007 to 2010, blasted Murdoch's Sun daily tabloid for its "sensationalised" coverage of the war in Afghanistan and for its decision to reveal in 2006 that Brown's son had cystic fibrosis.

Brown said he "absolutely" denied that his wife gave consent for the story to be published, contradicting claims by Rebekah Brooks, The Sun's editor at the time, when she gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry last month.

Kicking off a week in which both of Britain's main political parties will face intense scrutiny of their ties with Murdoch's News Corp., Brown said it was "ridiculous" to suggest Murdoch exerted undue influence on his government.

"I understood, I think, quite a lot about his Scottish background," Brown, who is Scottish, said of the Australian-born tycoon at the inquiry, which was set up in the wake of the phone-hacking scandal at Murdoch's News of the World weekly tabloid.

"But the idea that I was influenced in what I did by Mr Murdoch's views is faintly ridiculous."

Laughing, he said Murdoch would have wanted Britain to leave the EU and "probably would have had us at war with France and Germany".

"Mr Murdoch has very strong views," said Brown, wearing a dark suit with a purple tie. "He's entitled to these views. But the idea that I was following those views is just absolute nonsense."

Brown also denied Murdoch's claim that he telephoned the tycoon threatening to "make war" on News Corp. after The Sun, Britain's biggest-selling paper, switched support to the Conservatives before the 2010 election.

Brown, whose Labour party subsequently lost the election after 13 years in power, said: "There was no such conversation."

He also criticised Murdoch's son James, who resigned as executive chairman of News Corp.'s British newspaper wing over the phone hacking scandal, for his aggressive pursuit of deregulation in the British media industry.

He described a 2009 lecture by James Murdoch criticising the size of the BBC and the interference of media watchdog Ofcom as "breathtaking in its arrogance and ambition".

Current finance minister George Osborne was due to appear at the inquiry later on Monday, while Prime Minister David Cameron will give a full day of evidence on Thursday.

Cameron set up the Leveson Inquiry in July after revelations that Murdoch journalists hacked into the voicemail messages of a murdered schoolgirl prompted a wave of public revulsion, forcing the News of the World to close.

But his own government has come under fire after evidence at the inquiry exposed the Conservative-led coalition's closeness to the Murdoch press.

Culture minister Jeremy Hunt has been battling calls to resign since it emerged at the inquiry in April that his office leaked information to News Corp. about its bid to take full control of pay-TV giant BSkyB.

News Corp. was forced to drop the BSkyB bid as the hacking scandal unfolded.

The inquiry, led by senior judge Brian Leveson, is due to produce a report in October that will likely include recommendations on the future of press regulation and a probe into the extent of journalists' illegal activities.

More than 40 people have been arrested by police investigating phone hacking and alleged bribery of public officials by News Corp. journalists.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea
    US ambassador recovers from knife attack praised by N. Korea

    The US ambassador to South Korea, Mark Lippert, was recovering from surgery Thursday after having his face and arm slashed by a knife-wielding activist in an attack applauded by North Korean state media. The United States condemned the "act of violence" which saw the ambassador rushed to hospital where his condition was described as stable after two-and-a-half hours of surgery that included 80 stitches to a deep gash on his right cheek. During the assault, Kim screamed a slogan in favour of …

  • Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl
    Billionaire finds wreck of WWII ship in Phl

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen says he has found the Japanese Navy’s biggest warship at the bottom of the sea in the Philippines, 70 years after US forces sank it. Allen posted a photo on Twitter on Tuesday of the World War II battleship Musashi’s rusty bow, which bore the Japanese empire’s Chrysanthemum seal. The American billionaire, who has also pursued space exploration, said his luxury yacht and exploration ship, the M/Y Octopus, found the Musashi one kilometer (1.6 miles) deep on the …

  • New Moro rebel group emerges
    New Moro rebel group emerges

    A radical Muslim cleric trained in the Middle East and considered one of the leaders of the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters (BIFF) has broken away from the terror group to form his own band of jihadists who are now reportedly providing sanctuary to bomb expert Basit Usman and at least five foreign militants, the military said yesterday. Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesman Col. Restituto Padilla, citing reports from the field, said the Justice for Islamic Movement (JIM) was …

  • Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires
    Sy moves up, Villar enters Forbes list of billionaires

    Eleven Filipinos are included in Forbes’ 2015 list of richest people in the world. Filipino-Chinese tycoon Henry Sy Sr. continues to be the wealthiest man in the Philippines. The 90-year-old SM supermalls, banking and property tycoon ranked 73rd among the world’s richest with an increased net worth of $14.2 billion from $11.4 billion last year. Sy’s net worth was attributed to the continued growth of his SM Investments Corp. and his more recent venture, the City of Dreams Manila resort and …

  • Ohio mom, boyfriend guilty; child emailed teacher for help

    PORTSMOUTH, Ohio (AP) — A woman and her boyfriend pleaded guilty to raping her young children and were sentenced to prison on Wednesday, a year after one of her daughters emailed a teacher for help and said she and her siblings were being chained to their beds, deprived of food and sexually assaulted. …

  • World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too
    World's oldest person wonders about secret to longevity too

    TOKYO (AP) — The world's oldest person says 117 years doesn't seem like such a long time. …

  • Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile
    Miriam bucks house arrest for Enrile

    Sen. Miriam Defensor-Santiago believes granting Senate Minority Leader Juan Ponce Enrile house arrest, while former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo remains under hospital detention, will violate the equal protection clause of the Constitution. “That’s already a violation of the equal protection of the law,” she said. …

  • US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines
    US billionaire says WWII Japanese ship found in Philippines

    Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen said Wednesday he had found one of Japan's biggest and most famous battleships on a Philippine seabed, some 70 years after American forces sank it during World War II. Excited historians likened the discovery, if verified, to finding the Titanic, as they hailed the American billionaire for his high-tech mission that apparently succeeded after so many failed search attempts by others. Allen posted photos and video online of parts of what he said was the …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options