Friday 15 June 2012

Did Rupert Murdoch Lie To Leveson About Gordon Brown?

Norman Smith of the BBC has just tweeted the following information he received from the cabinet office regarding claims made by Gordon Brown at the Leveson Inquiry:
Cabinet Office -We confirm there is a record of only 1 call between Mr Brown and Rupert Murdoch in year to March 2010 on 10th of Nov 2009
Cabinet Office say Nov 2009 phone call between Gordon Brown and Rupert Murdoch followed by email referring to discussion on Afghanistan
Gordon Brown's spokeswoman on Cab Off statement on call with Rupert Murdoch :"This statement confirms Mr Brown's evidence to the Inquiry"
Gordon Brown office say Rupert Murdoch has been unable to provide any evidence of alleged "declaration of war" phone call in Sept 2009
As the Guardian reported on Monday Brown "insisted" he did not make an unbalanced and threatening phone call to Rupert Murdoch in 2009, as claimed by Rupert Murdoch during his Leveson appearance in April:
The former prime minister released Downing Street phone records to the inquiry on Monday to show that he had spoken to Murdoch on 10 November of that year at 12.33pm. Brown said that the two had spoken about the war in Afghanistan.
During his April appearance Rupert Murdoch claimed Brown had called him in September 2009 during which Brown threatened Rupert Murdoch and acted in an unbalanced way.

Today's new information seems to suggest that Rupert Murdoch was wrong to make those claims, and as yet he and News Corp have been unable to produce any evidence of those claims, so the question is; did Rupert Murdoch lie to the Leveson Inquiry?

Update - Here's the question Rupert Murdoch was asked at Leveson and how he replied:
Q. May I just deal with one piece of evidence the Inquiry received from Mr MacKenzie. Mr MacKenzie told us that Mr Brown spoke to you on the phone, this was on or shortly after 30 September 2009 and he, Mr Brown, is said to have roared at you for 20 minutes. Is that true or not?

A. I am afraid that -- I'm very happy to tell you about the conversation, but Mr MacKenzie, who I might have talked to about it over dinner, I occasionally see him -- that was a very colourful exaggeration. Mr Brown did call me and said, "Rupert, do you know what's going on here?" And I said, "What do you mean?" He said, "Well ..." the Sun and what it's doing and how it came out, and I said, "I'm not aware of the -- I was not warned of the exact timing, I'm not aware of what they're saying, I'm a long, long way away, but I'm sorry to tell you, Gordon, we have come to the conclusion that we will support a change of government when and if there's an election." Not "if", but "when there's an election". And he said -- and I must stress no voices were raised, we were talking more quietly than you and I are now --he said, "Well, your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative but to make war on your company." And I said, "I'm sorry about that, Gordon, thank you for calling", end of subject.
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  1. Rupert Murdoch doesn't strike me as the trustworthy type.

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