Live Blog: Rupert Murdoch Hits Back in Leveson Testimony
12:37 p.m.: Murdoch was also asked if he got Blair to call former Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi over the takeover of Mediaset — which he denied.
He admitted spiking a book by former Hong Kong governor Chris Patten, which was supposed to have been published by News Corp.-backed Harper Collins, but denied that this was because of his commercial interests in China.
12:21 p.m.: Recess called for 5 minutes.
12:17 p.m.: Murdoch faced close questioning about his decision to back Tony Blair's government, and admitted Blair's move to a more skeptical position on the euro pleased him.
He denied there had been an "implicit understanding" that Blair would take a less positive stance on the euro in return for Murdoch newspapers' endorsement.
12:10 p.m.: "I'm afraid I don't have much subtlety about me," Murdoch said.
12:06 p.m.: "My commercial interests...never came into any consideration on where we stood on issues or political parties," Murdoch said.
12:04 p.m.: Murdoch said a quote from ex-spin doctor Alistair Campbell about Murdoch and the then-Leader of the Opposition Tony Blair "making love like porcupines — very, very carefully" sounded accurate.
11:54 a.m.: He admitted that News Corp. shareholders would like him to "get rid of" its newspapers — but he confessed: "I love newspapers."
11:52 a.m.: Murdoch said when asked about political influence: "Politicians always seek the support of all newspapers and all media outlets — that's part of democracy."
11:45 a.m.:The Sun famously ran the headline: "It Was The Sun Wot Won It" after the 1992 U.K. election — won by the Conservatives after the endorsement of The Sun. Murdoch said he gave the then editor "a bollocking" over the headline.
11:42 a.m.: "People can stop buying my newspapers if they want...They unfortunately often do," he said.
11:39 a.m.: Murdoch was quizzed over whether politicians including Baroness Thatcher supported his early bids for business such as The Times and Sky in return for his support. He denied this, pointing out that other proprietors also backed Thatcher.
11:25 a.m.: It emerged that Adam Smith, the advisor responsible for much of the communication between Jeremy Hunt and News Corp., has resigned ahead of Hunt's statement today.
Adam Smith's statement, in part: "I appreciate that my activities at times went too far and have, taken together, created the perception that News Corporation had too close a relationship with the department, contrary to the clear requirements set out by Jeremy Hunt and the permanent secretary that this needed to be a fair and scrupulous process."
11:23 a.m.: The inquiry resumes. Rupert Murdoch said he does not believe in the use of private detectives, as they make reporters lazy.
He added that intrusion into the lives of celebrities and politicians is justified. "They're not entitled to the same privacy as the man in the street," he said.
11:13 a.m.: Recess called. The inquiry is to resume in 10 minutes.
11:06 a.m.: Murdoch denied being one of the main powers behind the Thatcher throne — a claim made by another politician to author Roy Greenslade.
11:02 a.m.: The Inquiry quoted extensively from a memoir by Harold Evans, the former Times and Sunday Times editor. Evans claimed Murdoch said: "I give instructions to my editors all around the world, why shouldn't I in London?"
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10:55 a.m.: Murdoch maintained that the standards of The Sun had improved under his ownership.
"The Sun has never been a better paper than it is today" he said.
The aim of all his newspapers is "to tell the truth," according to Murdoch.
10:51 a.m.: Murdoch added that he runs his company with "a great deal of decentralization."
"I set an example of ethical behavior... But do I do it (run News Corp.) by an aura of charisma? I don't think so," he said.
10:49 a.m.: Murdoch said he has never pushed his commercial interests in his newspapers. The 81-year-old had impressive memory for the detail of deals done decades ago.
10:32 a.m.: The session began with examination of events which for many are ancient history — Murdoch's takeover of The Times and the Sunday Times more than 30 years ago. The purchase was followed by a dispute with print unions in Wapping which is still one of the most famous industrial disputes in British history.
10:28 a.m.: Murdoch's famous battle with the unions at Wapping, home of News International, was discussed.
"I didn't have the will to crush the unions. I might have had the desire," he said, adding, "I have never asked a prime minister for anything."
10:24 a.m.: Murdoch was asked about an early meeting with then-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher where the policies of Ronald Reagan, who was just about to be inaugurated as president of the U.S., were discussed.
10:19 a.m.: Murdoch cautioned "don't take my tweets too seriously," when asked about his recent outburst against "old toffs and rightwingers" on Twitter.
10:14 a.m.: "I welcome the opportunity to put certain myths to bed," he said.
10:13 a.m.: Murdoch started by denying that he resents U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron for setting up the inquiry.
10:10 a.m.: Murdoch is sworn in and takes his seat.
10:05 a.m.: Murdoch's wife Wendi enters the room. The inquiry commences.