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Leveson inquiry: Rupert Murdoch says Gordon Brown declared war on News International

Salmond`s relationship with Murdoch has been questioned. Picture: AP

Salmond`s relationship with Murdoch has been questioned. Picture: AP

MEDIA mogul Rupert Murdoch has been revealed at the Leveson Inquiry today that Gordon Brown had not been in a “balanced state of mind” when he declared war on his company.

• Then-PM called after The Sun switched allegiance back to Tories in September 2009.

• Asked by counsel how Mr Brown might have “made war” on the firm, Mr Murdoch said he did not know.

• Jeremy Hunt vows to show he acted with “total integrity” over BSkyB deal

• The Culture Secretary requests early appearance date at Leveson following James Murdoch’s revelations

• Labour leader Ed Miliband called for Mr Hunt to resign, accusing him of “acting as a back-channel” for the Murdochs.

• First Minister Alex Salmond has been accused of treating the Scottish Parliament with contempt by not going before MSPs today to explain his dealings with the Murdochs.

The row over Jeremy Hunt is set to intensify today as Labour prepares to face down David Cameron over the allegations at Prime Minister’s Questions.

Furious opposition politicians said Alex Salmond needed to answer questions over whether he had been prepared to intervene and lobby UK Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt on the proposed takeover of BSkyB.

It comes after an email from a senior figure at News Corporation claimed Mr Salmond would call Mr Hunt “whenever we need him to”.

During the Leveson Inquiry it emerged that News Corp’s director of public affairs, Frederic Michel, had emailed James Murdoch and said: “I met with Alex Salmond’s adviser today. He will call Hunt whenever we need him to.”

A spokesman for the First Minister insisted Mr Salmond “has never spoken to or corresponded with Jeremy Hunt on this issue”.

He said it was “total nonsense to suggest there was ever any quid pro quo offered by the Scottish Government over the BSkyB bid”.

But opposition politicians said there were still questions the First Minister needed to answer.

Labour leader Johann Lamont said: “He has not answered the question, did he make the offer to phone Jeremy Hunt on behalf of News International.

“He has not answered that question. I think that is a fundamental question he should answer.”

Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie said he should be appearing before MSPs at Holyrood to answer questions on the issue.

 

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