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Gordon Brown Denies 'Declaring War' On Rupert Murdoch

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Gordon Brown has denied making an angry phone call to Rupert Murdoch to complain about The Sun's decision to switch its support from Labour to the Conservatives in 2010.

Last month Murdoch told the Leveson Inquiry under oath that Brown had called him after the paper came out in favour of David Cameron to say: "Well, your company has declared war on my government. And we have no alternative to make war on your company".

Murdoch told the inquiry: "I don’t think he [Brown] was in a very balanced state of mind."

But giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry on Monday, the former prime minister said that there was "no evidence" that he had made such a phone call.

"I did not call him, I had no reason to want to call him, and I would not have called him," Brown said.

"This conversation never took place," he added. "There was no such conversation."

"I'm surprised that first of all there's a story that I slammed the phone down, and a second story from Mr Murdoch himself that I threatened him. That did not happen."

Brown told the inquiry that the only call that took place in that time period between himself and Murdoch was in November and was about Afghanistan.

However following Brown's claim News Corporation issued a statement saying Rupert Murdoch stood by his testimony to the Leveson inquiry.

Brown said he was "not surprised at all" when The Sun switched its formal support from Labour to the Conservatives in 2010.

"The act of deciding to go with the Conservatives had been planned over many many months," he said. "I never complained to The Sun about us losing their support."

Brown also attacked The Sun for "damaging" Britain's war effort in Afghanistan and for the way it chose to reveal that his son had cystic fibrosis.

Brown denied claims made by the former chief executive of News International, Rebekah Brooks, that he gave permission for The Sun to run a story in 2006 about his infant son's illness.

In her evidence to the inquiry last month, Brooks said she only decided to run the story because she felt the Browns had given her permission.

Asked whether she had the "express permission" of the Brown's to publish the story she replied: "Absolutely".

"If the Brown's had asked me not to run it I wouldn't have done," she said. "Not only did they give me permission to run it it is the only way we would have put it in the public domain."

However asked by the inquiry today whether he or his wife had "absolutely" not given permission, Brown said there was "no question of implicit or explicit permission" given by him or his wife Sarah to the paper to run the story.

He told the inquiry that they wanted to "minimise the damage" done to his family and had initially wanted to put out a statement to all the press.

However this, he said, was deemed "unacceptable" by The Sun who told them unless they gave a statement exclusively to the paper it would in future not give him any warning about stories it planned to publish.

What The Other Witnesses Have Said

Jeremy Hunt: I Considered Quitting Over BSkyB Row

Rebekah Brooks: David Cameron Signed Off His Texts 'LOL'

Adam Smith: I Did Not Give News Corp 'Inappropriate' Inside Information

DCMS Permanent Secretary Jonathan Stephens: Hunt Urged Cameron To Back News Corp Bid

Fred Michel: Texts Reveal Close Relationship Between News Corp And Hunt's Office

Ken Clarke: The Press Is More Powerful Than Parliament

Michael Gove: Rupert Murdoch Is A 'Impressive And Significant' Man

Vince Cable: News International Threatened The Lib Dems Over BSkyB

Tony Blair: I Chose Not To Take On The Press

Also on The Huffington Post

Gordon Brown at Leveson
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