Mandelson Swears Brown Made War Call to Murdoch

Gordon Brown to Rupert Murdoch

If you have been watching BBC news or reading the Guardian you would think that Brown’s testimony was proven and Rupert Murdoch had made up the whole claim about Brown “declaring war”. At the Leveson Inquiry Lord Mandelson was questioned about the “war” call from Gordon Brown to Rupert Murdoch. It is worth revisiting what he said in his sworn testimony:

Jay Okay. You say in your book that Mr Brown was stunned by the news that the Sun had shifted allegiance, and that this grew greater, as it were, over the forthcoming weeks. Was it your assessment that Mr Brown was personally embittered by this?
Mandelson I think he was greatly upset by it. I don’t think he should have been surprised, but he took these things very personally. Look, different politicians will take these things in different ways, and he did feel stung by it. He thought that after all that he had done as Prime Minister, all that he had done to deliver our economy from the greatest post-war crisis that we had seen, during which he felt that in respect of the banks, for example, he had received a lot of encouragement from Rupert Murdoch and Irwin Stelzer and other informed commentators, that it was sort of unfair in a sense for them to turn on him now. He also felt wronged over Afghanistan, with good reason, and I was very sympathetic to him, but he shouldn’t have taken it so personally. You know, this is politics. …
Jay You might be able to throw direct light on that belief by a piece of evidence. We heard from Mr Murdoch — and he said it twice, sitting where you are — that there was a telephone call between him and Mr Brown when Mr Brown delivered what was tantamount to —
Mandelson  But the interesting thing about the phone call —
Jay  Can I —
Mandelson — is Mr Murdoch himself said that he did not agree with  the method and timing of what had been done.
Jay  Yes, but we don’t know yet from your evidence whether you know whether there was such a call, and that was the question.
Mandelson Oh, I’m sorry.
Jay The allegation is — or rather the evidence was from Mr Murdoch — that Mr Brown said or uttered the words “declare war on News International” or words to that effect. From your own knowledge, Lord Mandelson, can you assist us as to whether there was such a call? …
Mandelson  I assume that there was the call because I seem to remember the Prime Minister telling me that Rupert Murdoch was not at all happy with the method and timing of James and Rebekah’s action.
Jay What did the Prime Minister tell you, Lord Mandelson, about the call? Did he communicate to you that that’s what he told Mr Murdoch?
Mandelson  No, he didn’t say that. He told me what Mr Murdoch had said to him.
Jay So there was nothing about what Mr Brown said to Mr Murdoch? Is that your evidence?
Mandelson   Yes, it is. I cannot remember being told by Mr Brown what he said, and I have no way of knowing. But I — but I know what he said to me about Rupert Murdoch’s reaction, which was to say basically: “I don’t like how it’s been done and I think it’s a bad day to do it and I wouldn’t have done it this way myself, but that’s life and we have to get on with it.”
Jay  Mr Murdoch’s reaction to what, though, Lord Mandelson?
Mandelson   The decision of the Sun to switch support from New Labour to the Conservative Party, which he has said, if I recall correctly, was James and Rebekah’s decision. Not the editor’s, incidentally.
Jay  Can you at least assist us with the timing of this call? We know that there was a later call relating to the letter to the mother of the soldier who died in Afghanistan. We’re talking about an earlier conversation, if it took place.
Mandelson  There would have been a number of — I mean, Gordon did not hold back in talking to Rupert Murdoch. He did telephone him, he had every right to do so, and when he thought that he was being traduced, as he did, by the Sun, he wanted to give vent to his feelings about that. I mean, who can blame him in the circumstances? Personally, I think it is better to go to editors rather than proprietors, but he did have a good relationship with Rupert and he invoked that friendship.

Rupert Murdoch has just tweeted that he is not backing down:

Given that as well as denying making any such call, Gordon denied all knowledge of what Ed Balls, Charlie Whelan and Damian McBride did on his behalf, Guido knows who he believes...

See also: Cabinet Office Statement Does Not Clear Brown



Tip offs: 0709 284 0531
team@Order-order.com

GuidoFawkes Quote of the Day

Chuka has been trying to spin the Siemens row:

Chuka Umunna: It’s no different from Sky News quoting a business leader.

Adam Boulton: Except yours says ‘VOTE LABOUR’ at the bottom.

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.

Facebook

SMART METER PROGRAMME’S DIGITAL ACTIVITY WASTE SMART METER PROGRAMME’S DIGITAL ACTIVITY WASTE
MASK SLIPS FROM GREENPEACE ‘HEALTH CHARITY’ FRONT MASK SLIPS FROM GREENPEACE ‘HEALTH CHARITY’ FRONT
PM Gets Last Word On Thursday PM Gets Last Word On Thursday
FOXY BARONESS’ WEBSITE BORKED FOXY BARONESS’ WEBSITE BORKED
Labour: The Party of Benefits Labour: The Party of Benefits
GOVERNMENT DIGITAL SERVICE BEATS MICROSOFT INTO SUBMISSION GOVERNMENT DIGITAL SERVICE BEATS MICROSOFT INTO SUBMISSION

EUROPOL CHIEF: SNAPCHAT GREATEST TERRORIST THREAT EUROPOL CHIEF: SNAPCHAT GREATEST TERRORIST THREAT
Sky News Ballot Ballad Sky News Ballot Ballad
WATCH: UKIP Pledge Card Revealed WATCH: UKIP Pledge Card Revealed
Mini Wars Mini Wars
OZZIE NUMPTY EMAILS DAVID CAMERON’S PASSPORT NUMBER TO ASIAN FOOTBALLERS OZZIE NUMPTY EMAILS DAVID CAMERON’S PASSPORT NUMBER TO ASIAN FOOTBALLERS
Hell? Yes Hell? Yes
Cameron’s Last Speech in Downing Street (Before the Election) Cameron’s Last Speech in Downing Street (Before the Election)
Free Sun Advertising On the BBC Free Sun Advertising On the BBC
Downing Street Fighting Like Cats and Dogs Downing Street Fighting Like Cats and Dogs
Lucy Powell Falls Apart Under Questioning Lucy Powell Falls Apart Under Questioning
Feminist Jazz Hands Explained Feminist Jazz Hands Explained
WALTER MITTY CV OF ANTI-FRACKING CANDIDATE WALTER MITTY CV OF ANTI-FRACKING CANDIDATE
Cassetteboy v Cameron and Farage Cassetteboy v Cameron and Farage
MICROSOFT SHAKES DOWN PUBLIC SECTOR FOR DOSH MICROSOFT SHAKES DOWN PUBLIC SECTOR FOR DOSH
WATCH: Toby Young Skewers Labour Zero Hours Contract Attack Line WATCH: Toby Young Skewers Labour Zero Hours Contract Attack Line
MAIL TRICKED INTO QUOTING BATMAN FILM IN PLANE CRASH COVERAGE MAIL TRICKED INTO QUOTING BATMAN FILM IN PLANE CRASH COVERAGE
ANTI-FRACKING PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE WANTED TO WORK FOR FRACKERS ANTI-FRACKING PARLIAMENTARY CANDIDATE WANTED TO WORK FOR FRACKERS
Crick Gets Paxo’d Crick Gets Paxo’d
Cameron’s Secret A-List Cameron’s Secret A-List
Corrections and Clarifications: Brooks Newmark Corrections and Clarifications: Brooks Newmark
What is Wrong With the Lobby? What is Wrong With the Lobby?
Arrogant Bercow: “I’m Not Going Anywhere” Arrogant Bercow: “I’m Not Going Anywhere”
GOVERNMENT SHELLS OUT FOR PHOTO OF DEAD ZEBRA GOVERNMENT SHELLS OUT FOR PHOTO OF DEAD ZEBRA
DWP Press Office Wins the Internet DWP Press Office Wins the Internet