Nick Clegg has sought to demonstrate his distance from News Corporation, as MPs prepare to vote on whether culture secretary Jeremy Hunt should be investigated over his handling of the BSKyB bid.
Quizzed at the Leveson inquiry on Wednesday about his meetings with media owners, Clegg said he had been present at a dinner with Rupert Murdoch on 16 December 2009.
However he said his actual meeting with Murdoch was fleeting and he was not sat especially close to the News Corp boss.
"I was at the very end of the table, where the children sit, so to speak," he said.
The deputy prime minister told Leveson that until his strong performance in the televised election debates in 2010 much of the press had simply ignored the Lib Dems.
"We didn't have any big media groups batting for us," he said. "In fact we were batting for any attention whatsoever."
He said that the Lib Dems had "never been in anyones pocket" however he admitted this was not just "borne of virtue".
"I'm not sure there were any vested interests in the press who wanted us in their pockets in the first place," he said.
Following the first TV debate in April 2010 Clegg saw his personal ratings surge to an astonishing 72% and he was branded as "the most popular party leader since Winston Churchill" by one paper.
However some papers soon turned against him, with the Daily Mail running a story headlined: "Clegg in Nazi slur on Britain".
Clegg said much of the press had viewed his party as "upstarts" who had intruded on the two party fight between the Conservatives and Labour.
He said the papers had a "panic" and started to "lash out a bit" at him.
"I didn't find it surprising," he said. "That's the nature of the alignment between particular parties and particular papers."
Clegg told Leveson that while he admired Murdoch for "coming in and shaking up vested interests" he was concerned about "too much power" being concentrated in the hands of too few people.
The Lib Dem leader also revealed that during meetings with Gordon Brown as the three main parties negotiated to form a government in May 2010, the outgoing prime minister told him "words along the lines of: 'You do realise that this is all about Murdoch, that Murdoch want the Conservatives in government'."
Brown has alleged that the Tories knew News Corp wished to bid for BSkyB before the general election, a charge senior Conservatives including George Osborne had denied.
Asked about News Corp's bid to take over BSkYB, Clegg said Lib Dem MP Norman Lamb had told him he had been warned that the party would receive unfavourable coverage in the Murdoch press if it did not back the bid.
However Clegg told Leveson he did not take the threat seriously as the Lib Dems had not had "particularly favourable" coverage in the Murdoch press anyway.
On Wednesday afternoon the House of Commons will vote on whether Jeremy Hunt should face an investigations over whether he broke the ministerial code.
Labour has accused the culture secretary of giving misleading statements to parliament. However David Cameron has decided that such an inquiry is not needed.
Clegg has sparked a public row with the Conservatives after he told his MPs to abstain in the vote, effectively condemning the prime minister for failing to launch a inquiry.
A Lib Dem source told the Press Association: "It is not a decision that is endorsed by the Liberal Democrats, therefore we don't think we need to endorse it, therefore we won't support it on the floor of the House."
Speaking during prime minister's question time, Cameron sought to downplay the rift, telling Ed Miliband that they should both accept that Clegg's party had not been as close to Murdoch as Labour and the Tories.
"To be fair to the Lib Dems they didn't have that relationship and their abstention tonight is to make that point," he said.
Cameron should win the vote despite losing the support of Lib Dem MPs as the Conservatives still hold a majority over Labour.
Mr Roger Quimbly