14/05/2012 13:22 BST | Updated 14/07/2012 10:12 BST

Michael Howard: I Asked Murdoch Directly For His Support, He Said No

Michael Howard asked Rupert Murdoch directly for his support at the 2005 general election but was turned down, the former Tory leader has revealed.

Speaking on the BBC's Daily Politics programme on Monday afternoon, Michael, now Lord, Howard, sad he tried but failed to persuade the media mogul to get The Sun to ditch its support for New Labour.

"I asked Rupert Murdoch directly for his support at 2005 election and he said: 'My heart is with you, but I am afraid my head isn't'," Lord Howard said.

Lord Howard, who led the Conservative Party between 2003 and 2005 said the amount of influence newspapers had over elections was often "exaggerated" but acknowledged he did of course want their support.

The Sun eventually switched its support from Labour to the Tories ahead of the 2010 general election.

Lord Howard's comments came ahead of Alistair Campbell's, Tony Blair's former spin doctor, appearance at the Leveson inquiry.