We will be updating revelations from his appearance throughout the day live.
Lord Justice Leveson advised that documents entered yesterday as evidence to the inquiry should not be taken at face value and can potentially be read in a number of ways. Leveson is concerned that the press should be cautious in its approach to reporting the story. Most major papers led this morning with articles on the emails released by News Corp which appeared to show that culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and his office passed confidential information to the Murdoch empire to support its takeover of BSkyB. In its coverage, The Guardian notes that Jeremy Hunt urges the Leveson inquiry to give him a chance to clear his name, The Times notes the pressure on the minister to make a statement. The Telegraph managed to speak briefly to Hunt this morning and led with his intention to clear his name.
In his testimony to the inquiry, Rupert Murdoch says he aims to put myths to bed. He says proprietors’ power is “sometimes overestimated” but if an editor is in danger of sending a newspaper broke proprietors must step in and act. The 81-year-old media mogul said rumours that he hadn’t forgiven Prime Minister David Cameron for setting up the inquiry were untrue – rather he welcomed it as an opportunity to get to the bottom of problems in the press other than phone hacking.
The Guardian has compiled a list of questions Murdoch must answer, including allegation emerging this morning that he attempted to influence the government’s decision on whether to approve News Corp’s bid to take over BSkyB and the suggestion that Murdoch has intervened in his newspapers’ editorial activity for political and commercial reasons. Pressed by Robert Jay QC on the latter, Murdoch says “I take particular pride in the fact that we have never pushed our commercial interests in our newspapers”.
Dan Sabbagh, head of media at The Guardian tweets that Murdoch agrees he is traditional prop of the Sun: “I am curious person interested in great issues of the day and I’m not good at holding my tongue.”
As the ripples continue to spread, Jeremy Hunt’s aide Adam Smith has quit over News Corp revelations.
The BBC reports that Rupert Murdoch said he has “never asked a prime minister for anything”. he denied asking or being offered any favours when he met then Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher at a lunch in 1981.
As the New York Times reports, when asked about a Twitter message he had sent recently referring to “right wingers and toffs” opposed to him, Murdoch replied: “Don’t take my tweets too seriously.” What he had meant in the message was that “the extremists on both sides were piling in on me,” he said.
Much of the Robert Jay QC’s questioning is seeking to expose the extent to which Murdoch’s media interests were intertwined with actions of the UK government, most recently the company’s lobbying of the coalition as they sought to buy the remaining publicly owned shares of BskyB. To read a timeline of News Corp’s moves to take ownership of BSkyB click here.
The Times summarises today’s biggest revelations:
* Rupert Murdoch says ‘never asked any PM for anything’
* Gordon Brown ‘declared war’ after Sun desertion in 2009
* Tycoon ’still great admirer of Thatcher’
* Did not get involved in BSkyB bid
* Son assured him hacking was not widespread
* Hunt defends himself in Commons
The Guardian takes a number of different angles:
* Rupert Murdoch has claimed that Gordon Brown wilfully misled parliament over a Sun story about the former prime minister’s son
* Murdoch said that Brown was “unbalanced” and had declared war on News Corporation
* The News Corp chairman admits he made a mistake over blocking publication of Lord Patten’s book on Hong Kong
* Murdoch denies trading favours with Tony Blair, including in tunup to Iraq war in March 2003
* The Times should have bought MPs’ expenses details and should not have published NightJack story, says Murdoch
* Jeremy Hunt’s special adviser Adam Smith has resigned over emails to News Corp over BSkyB deal
In PMQs today Jeremy Hunt said that he “strictly followed due process” in the way he handled a controversial BSkyB takeover bid by News Corporation.
Rupert Murdoch is due to return tomorrow to give further evidence.