Jack Straw Tells Leveson Rupert Murdoch Likes To 'Play' With Political Leaders

The Huffington Post UK  |  By Posted: Updated: 16/05/2012 12:58

Rupert Murdoch liked to "play with political leaders" by tempting them with the possibility that his newspapers would support them, Jack Straw has said.

Giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry into press ethics on Wednesday morning, the former cabinet minister said he thought Murdoch thought his political influence would be greater if his support was "available in return for what he could get out of it".

Straw said that while most of the newspapers in the UK were predictable in who they would support, only two were not.

One he said, was the Guardian, which he accused of being a "fair weather friend" of Labour as it sometimes shifted its support to the Lib Dems. The other was The Sun, which is owned by News International.

"Mr Murdoch has enjoyed the fact he has been willing to play with political leaders in a way others have not because their loyalty is predictable," he said.

"He's very interested in power, for its own sake," Straw added." And I think to help him consolidate his non-newspaper interests in this country."

Straw, who has served as home secretary, justice secretary as well as foreign secretary, said James Murdoch had been disingenuous when he said News International's newspapers represented only 2% of the companies revenue.

"The power that those print titles provide is much greater than 2% in the UK," he said. "If you're on the receiving end of it it felt like power".

Straw raised one instance where The Sun published a front page in the 1990s criticising him for owning three houses while advocating a Labour agenda.

He said that following the story he could "feel support draining away" from him in his constituency.

He told Leveson that following the story people then knew where he lived and that he would not be there on election night. He was then burgled.

Straw also said that Labour's failure to win the 1992 general election was partially down to hostility from The Sun. Neil Kinnock had been. "I took that as power," he said.

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