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Jonathan May-Bowles, Piegate Man, Won't Be Going To Leveson

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JONATHAN MAY BOWLES PIE MURDOCH
May-Bowles Has No Plans To Attend Rupert Murdoch's Visit To The Leveson Inquiry | PA

The comedian who threw a foam pie at Rupert Murdoch has no regrets about the stunt - but will not try anything similar when the billionaire appears at the Leveson Inquiry.

Jonathan May-Bowles, 27, was jailed for six weeks, reduced on appeal to four, for assaulting the 81-year-old media tycoon as he gave evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee last July.

The activist, also known by his stage name Jonnie Marbles, said the MPs' questioning of Mr Murdoch was "ineffectual" but believes the Leveson Inquiry will provide a "much more vigorous analysis".

Recalling his foam pie stunt, he said: "I regret that it wasn't all on camera, but apart from that I would do it all again. I thoroughly enjoyed jail, I recommend it to everyone."

He plans to watch James and Rupert Murdoch give evidence to Lord Justice Leveson this week via his computer rather than queuing up for one of the public places in the hearing room at London's Royal Courts of Justice.

"I have got no plans to attend - I haven't been invited. I have the feeling I may not be welcome," he joked.

Mr May-Bowles predicted that the Murdochs' appearances at the Leveson Inquiry would be "much more significant" than their session in front of MPs.

He said: "Leveson has been quite robust so far. The select committee, with the exception of (Labour MP) Tom Watson, was ineffectual.

"The committee was largely grand-standing by MPs, people like (Conservative MP) Louise Mensch, who really want to make a name for themselves. She did quite a good job of that.

"I think you will have a much more vigorous analysis of what was going on in News International and what role they played in it.

"I think there's a lot more scope for the Leveson Inquiry to do something really big and important."

The comedian rejected criticism that his protest at the Culture, Media and Sport Committee overshadowed a significant opportunity for public scrutiny of how the Murdochs run their media empire.

"I think it's hard to distract from something that was such a big nothing anyway. I don't particularly feel that I distracted from it," he said.

Mr May-Bowles said the national and international attention he received for his stunt had led to some "odd and interesting things".

"I don't think it's particularly helped or hindered my career. It's made my life more interesting," he said.

Asked if he was happy to be known for the rest of his life as "the man who pied Rupert Murdoch", he replied: "I will do something else ridiculous and exciting."

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