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Brown challenges Murdoch evidence

Former U.K. leader claims mogul misled inquiry

LONDON — The former British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, has accused Rupert Murdoch of misleading a public inquiry while under oath.

In another dramatic day of evidence at the Leveson inquiry into U.K. press ethics, Brown said that, contrary to what the media mogul had told the hearing in April, he had not phoned Murdoch in an “unbalanced” state of mind and threatened war on his empire after his U.K. tabloid the Sun switched support from Brown’s Labour Party to the rival Conservatives.

Brown said: “This call did not happen, this threat was not made.

“I couldn’t be unbalanced on a call that I didn’t have… and I find it shocking that we should get to this situation some time later when there is no evidence of this call happening at the time that he says it happened and you to be told under oath that this was the case.”

Murdoch told Leveson in April that Brown had said, ” ‘Well, your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative to make war on your company.’ I said ‘I’m sorry about that Gordon, thank you for calling,’ and that was that.”

A spokeswoman for News Corp. said that: “Rupert Murdoch stands behind his testimony.”

Brown told Leveson Monday that he “would rather have been an honest one-term prime minister than a dishonest two-term prime minister.”

He lost the U.K. general election in May 2010 that led to the formation of the current coalition government, led by Conservative leader David Cameron, who is due to appear at Leveson this week.