As it happened: Rupert Murdoch evidence day two

Key points

  • Rupert Murdoch admits there was a cover-up on phone-hacking - but that he was not responsible for it
  • Mr Murdoch says that the News of The World scandal is "a serious blot on my reputation"
  • Downing Street insists Mr Cameron "is confident he had no inappropriate discussions about the BSkyB bid and he at no time sought to influence the process".

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    Good morning and welcome to our live page coverage as Rupert Murdoch appears at the Leveson Inquiry for a second day.


    The media mogul will be questioned about how he handled the phone-hacking scandal and claims of illegal payments by journalists at his UK newspapers.


    On Wednesday, Mr Murdoch, 81, claimed then-PM Gordon Brown once threatened to "make war" on his company after the Sun newspaper changed its political allegience. That was later denied by Mr Brown.


    He also said he had "never asked a prime minister for anything" as he was pressed on his influence over politicians. He said the perception of his influence over politicians irritated him because it was a "myth".


    Meanwhile, former Times editor Harold Evans has hit back at Mr Murdoch in the Guardian. Referring to his assertions yesterday that he never lobbied Mrs Thatcher in the run-up to his takeover of the Time and Sunday Times in 1981, Evans says "[Murdoch] has apparently lost a great deal of his power of memory, but nature has compensated by endowing him with a vivid imagination".


    Mr Evans adds "as the editor in question, I am not able to compete with Murdoch in fabrication - he has a lifetime of experience" but says he (Evans) has retained his memory, made notes, kept documents and even wrote a bestselling book about the period in question.


    Evans notes that, contrary to Mr Murdoch's claims, the former Downing Street press officer Bernard Ingham recorded a meeting between Mrs Thatcher and Mr Murdoch at Chequers on 4 January 1981 which he describes as "an extraordinary secret lunch".


    The fall-out from James Murdoch's evidence continues, with the opposition leader Ed Miliband saying it "beggars belief" that Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt is still in his job. He has denied that News Corp any "back channel" of influence when he was ruling on the bid.


    Mr Murdoch is back in his seat and questioning from Robert Jay QC is beginning.


    The inquiry opens by addressing former Prime Minister Gordon Brown's denial - made yesterday - that a phone call took place in which he threatened to "wage war" on News International. "I stand by every word of it," Mr Murdoch replies.


    Mr Murdoch is asked about a comment he made on Wednesday that to see his thinking to look at the Sun. "Generally speaking the issues that we get interested in, fight for, you will find them in the Sun and you will find that I agree with most of them," he replies.


    On Education Secretary Michael Gove, a former Times journalist, he says, "I wish he was closer to me". On politicians as a whole "they know my philosophy," he says.

    Peter Hunt News correspondent

    Murdoch: long since became disillusioned. Waste of time talking to politicians about the BBC


    Questioning moves onto the BSkyB bid. Denies he discussed it with Jeremy Hunt. "I don't believe I've ever met him," he says.


    Mr Jay asks: "Have you spoken to Mr Hunt on the phone?" "Never," Mr Murdoch replies.


    Asked if he was concerned Mr Cable's comments that he had "declared war" on the Murdochs. Mr Murdoch replies: "I explained to you yesterday it was a commonplace transaction so why would I be worried about the politics of it?"

    Journalist for Alex Stevenson

    tweets: Murdoch's railing against UK's educational decline reveals his drive to interfere in politics #leveson


    Murdoch says BSkyB bid was a very big move for company, but he was more concerned with the unfolding hacking scandal in 2011.


    Asked how he felt when Mr Hunt took over responsibility for the bid, Mr Murdoch replies: "We just thought "we'll probably get a fairer go from anyone other than Dr Cable"." Says he did not know Mr Hunt had made a comment on his website that he was a "cheerleader for News International".


    Here's Mr Murdoch leaving home this morning for the Leveson Inquiry. The man closest to the camera is his other son, Lachlan. In the middle is Mr Murdoch's wife, Wendy.

    Lachlan Murdoch

    Mr Murdoch says he only learned of his employee Frederic Michel's lobbying of the government when the 163-page dossier of emails emerged.


    When asked if surprised by the extent of lobbying he says: "I don't want to say anything against Mr Michel but I think there could have been a little bit of exaggeration there."


    Asked whether he thought the emails suggested Mr Hunt was on News Corp's side he replies: "No I assumed any responsible minister would be responsible for it and deal with it in unbiased way, I thought Dr Cable was an exception."

    Peter Hunt News correspondent

    Murdoch leaving pauses before answering several questions


    Mr Murdoch says the hacking scandal did prevent the company from obtaining control of BSkyB. But says half of the Milly Dowler story was disowned by police.

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Murdoch #Leveson : accepts hacking scandal sunk BSkyB bid, refers to Milly Dowler "misfortune"


    Mr Jay moves on to the issue of phone hacking.

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    #Leveson urges Jay to "try again" on a point. Few qualms about making own counsel squirm


    On accusations News International did not cooperate with police, Mr Murdoch says: "We appointed a special law firm to look into this and to aid cooperation with police. When police after the charging of [NoW royal correspondent Clive] Goodman said they were closing the file, I can't believe they would have done that if they were not happy with our cooperation."


    On police evidence that NI was obstructive he says: "That shocks me deeply, and I was unaware of it and I've not heard of it until you said that."

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Clearly helpful for inquiry if original lawyers waive privilege to talk about how News Int dealt with cops during Goodman investigation

    Robert Peston

    Curious that Jay and Leveson haven't asked Murdoch to waive privilege on Burton Copeland probe of hacking in 2006 #leveson


    On claims it was "one rogue reporter" Mr Murdoch says senior executives were all misinformed (about the extent of phone-hacking at his newspapers) and shielded from anything that was going on. "I do blame one or two people for that...someone took charge of a cover up we were victim to and I regret."

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    [News International executive Les) Hinton chose Myler as notw ed, wdnt have been my choice, stronger people on Sun


    Mr Murdoch is asked from where culture of cover-up eminated. "From within the NoTW, and one or two very strong characters there who I think had been there many, many, many, years". He says people were forbidden to report to James Murdoch or Rebekah Brooks.

    Home Affairs Correspondent Channel 4 News, Andy Davies

    tweets: As Murdoch was discussing law firms role, one of his team next to me sprung to his feet and headed over to barristers bench...


    Mr Murdoch says NoTW editor Andy Coulson volunteered his resignation following the jailing of Clive Goodman. "He came forward and said I knew nothing of this but it happened on my watch and I think I should go."

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    (Murdoch so far direct or implied criticism of Brown, Yelland, Myler, Mandelson, Hinton, Harbottle & Lewis). Only 43 mins in.


    Colin Myler was then given brief to find out what was going on. Mr Murdoch says Myler was not his choice for NoW editor and blames him for not reporting back to Les Hinton on the hacking scandal.

    ITV News UK editor, Keir Simmons

    tweets: Murdoch representative walks up to NI counsel to talk to them as RM is questioned about hacking. Told off by Leveson. NI people seem worried

    Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    Number Ten adamant have only only two proper "meetings" between PM and Murdoch; and two other dinner/social events they both attended.


    Lord Leveson intervenes to ask: "Were you not intensely concerned to find out what was going on?" Mr Murdoch replies: "I have to admit some newspapers are closer to my heart than others and I also have to say I failed."

    Financial Times journalist, Ben Fenton

    tweets: #murdoch has to apologise to Jay after saying that only "minds like yours" would see NI's behaviour as a desire to cover up not expose.

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    (I failed. Very dramatic. But essentially same point as James - I'm not culpable because I didn't know what was taking place)


    Lord Leveson asks how the atmosphere or climate at the NoW had encouraged reporters to think it was acceptable to hack phones. "In newspapers reporters do act very much on own, they protect sources, do not diclose to colleagues what they were doing," Mr Murdoch says.


    "I am guilty of having not paid enough attention to the News of the World," Mr Murdoch says.


    Mr Murdoch says his son James was inexperienced when he was asked to pay out a sum to settle the Gordon Taylor case.


    BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins says Mr Murdoch is under much more pressure on day two of his appearance, attacking at Robert Jay QC at one point. The lawyer had said "some people might say" to which Mr Murdoch snapped "people like you".


    Mr Murdoch says they dismissed an article in the Guardian in 2009 as it had been "instantly disowned by the police". He adds: "We chose to take the word of the police over the word of the Guardian".

    Deputy foreign editor at RTE, Anthony Murnane

    tweets: Rupert #Murdoch is full of apologies at #leveson. 'I am sorry, I failed, I apologise' especially to innocent NoTW staff now out of jobs.

    1107: The BBC's Andrew Neil

    tweets: Amazed Murdoch says he neglected News of the World. Editors used to tell me he was never off the phone! #leveson

    1111: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    BBC political correspondent Ross Hawkins says another stand-out moment in the first hour was when Mr Murdoch, a man who has been so powerful for so many years and has often appeared invulnerable, said two key words, "I failed".

    Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Real frisson here over the exchange between Murdoch and Jay about why Burton Copeland internal News hacking probe never published


    Back from the short break, Mr Jay says the Metropolitan Police have told him they never said they had said they were satisfied there was just one rogue reporter.


    Mr Murdoch says Mr Jay's assertion he has a "visceral hatred" for the Guardian is "a little too high". He adds: I've often expressed admiration for them."


    Mr Murdoch says he is not planning to read Tom Watson MP's new book "Dial M for Murdoch" on the hacking scandal.


    On the moment back in 2011 when he was asked what his priority was and he replied "this one," pointing at Rebekah Brooks, Mr Murdoch says: "It's part of the game, I was being harrassed, I was trying to walk 10 yards across the street."


    tweets: Amazing - Rupert Murdoch now talking about his harassment by the media. Complaining of cameras in his face as he tries to cross the street.

    Journalist and media commentator, Roy Greenslade

    tweets: Murdoch #Leveson: says not planning to read Tom Watson's book BUT, in my experience, he never reads any books anyway


    Mr Murdoch says he wants to distinguish the difference between the Sun and the NoW. Says: "You lump them together all the time and I think that's grossly unfair to the Sun."

    Chris Corbyn

    : Doesn't feel like the #levesoninquiry is going as well today for Rupert Murdoch as it did yesterday. #phonehacking

    Tim Ireland

    tweets: This is why people like Rupert Murdoch avoid the spotlight; their position does not stand up to any scrutiny. #leveson


    tweets: Murdoch #Leveson : refers to Nazi orgy re Mosley. Mosley has always held no Nazi element, Eady agreed

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets #Leveson makes it v clear there was no Nazi element, Eady found as such

    Comic, Jake O'Kane

    tweets: We don't see 'masters of the universe' questioned like this very often. Riveting stuff! #Leveson


    Says he has not read comments by Justice Eady in judgement on Max Mosley case in which he referred to blackmail by NoW journalists to the women involved. They had been told they could stay anonymous if they gave further information. "I apologise I have not read it. I may agree with it if I read it," Mr Murdoch replies.


    Lord Leveson offers Mr Murdoch the chance to read the judgement and respond in writing.


    On the Anne Diamond case - the former TV presenter asked Mr Murdoch about "ruining people's lives" and was "brushed aside". Mr Murdoch denies ordering his newspapers to target Ms Diamond in retaliation.

    Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Journalists doing favour for someone in return for a favour back is pretty much everyday practice" says Murdoch. Not everyone would agree

    Journalist, Julie Posetti

    tweets: "A journalist doing a favour & getting one in return is everyday practice": Murdoch. (Not in my journalism practice! Jp). #leveson

    Tom Watson MP

    tweets: I raised the blackmail point with Murdoch last year and he's claiming he still hasn't read the judgement. Outrageous. #leveson

    Sky News Home affairs correspondent, Mark White

    tweets: Anne Diamond will be pleased. Rupert Murdoch says he doesn't even know who she is! #leveson


    Mr Murdoch: "I'm under strict instuctions from my lawyers not to say this but going to anyway." Lord Leveson: "I think you've just caused three coronaries".


    He was lining up his comments on Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre. "I was really shocked by the statement of Paul Dacre other day that his editorial policy is driven by commerical interests, it was the most unethical thing I have read for a long time."


    Mr Jay points out that Mr Dacre was just talking about opposition to BSkyB bid.

    1146: Breaking News

    Downing Street insist Mr Cameron "is confident he had no inappropriate discussions about the BSkyB bid and he at no time sought to influence the process".

    Sara Donnelly

    tweets: Murdoch's whole evidence just illustrates how rotten the red top press in this country is & why #Leveson needs 2 be sitting in the 1st place

    1148: Breaking News

    Mr Murdoch says hacking scandal cost his company "hundreds of millions" on low side.


    Mr Murdoch is asked about Piers Morgan's diaries from time he was editing NoW. He had been criticised by the Press Complaints Commission over using Earl Spencer's private photographs. He denies he said to Mr Morgan, "I'm sorry about that press complaining thingymajig".


    Mr Murdoch denies telling his journalists to cross-promote his TV channels in his newspapers.


    Mr Murdoch says he is against privacy laws. "Privacy laws are always for the great and the good and not for the mass of people who make up our democracy," he says.

    Former News of the World journalist, Tom Latchem

    tweets: Murdoch dumping over everyone today, no matter how loyal they were to him. Classy chap. Classy family. #Leveson


    Asked why he closed the NoW rather than tough it out? "When the Milly Dowler situation was first given huge publicity every paper took the chance to make it a national scandal. You could feel the blast coming in the window. I panicked. I'm glad I did."


    He adds: "I'm sorry i didn't close it years before. But what held us back was the NoW readers, only a quarter read the Sun."

    1157: Breaking News

    Mr Murdoch adds that the NoW scandal is "a serious blot on my reputation".


    Mr Murdoch denies NI managed the legal risk of phone hacking by covering it up. "No. There was no attempt either at my level or several levels below me to cover it up. Set up enquiry after enquiry, hired legal firm after legal firm. We perhaps relied too much on conclusions of police."

    Richard Williams in Chesham, Buckinghamshire

    emails: This is an all too simple line of questioning. Where are the direct questions as to hacking? How were the hackers paid huge sums from NI and signed off? What happened internally?


    Mr Murdoch says initial response of NI executives to select committee was "disrespectful of parliament."


    Mr Murdoch says: "We are now a new company, we have new rules. We are showing in the Sun we can still produce a good newspaper without bad practices."


    Mr Murdoch says with hindsight he should have questioned royal correspondent Clive Goodman himself and "torn the place apart" when the scandal broke in 2007.


    Another short break for the inquiry.

    1211: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Sums up evidence so far. In essence Rupert Murdoch sees himself as "the victim" of the phone-hacking scandal. He says there was no attempt at his level to engineer a cover-up, and blames "one or two people" below him. There was humility however as Mr Murdoch apologised to a lot of innocent people "who lost their jobs".

    Will Hill

    tweets: Six hours of testimony and counting, and Robert Jay has not landed a single solid punch on Rupert Murdoch so far. #Leveson

    Roy Greenslade

    Tweets Murdoch is growing testier, more belligerent, laying blame widely among employees. He's even trying to cover up the cover-up


    While we wait for the inqury to resume, here's a profile of the "13th most powerful man in the world".

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    says another stand-out moment in the first hour was when Mr Murdoch, a man who has been so powerful for so many years and has often appeared invulnerable, said two key words, "I failed".

    Dr Evan Harris

    Tweets#Murdoch says NI relied on the police conclusions >> which in turn relied on NI statements. Merrygoround

    James Cook BBC Scotland correspondent

    Tweets Howls of derision from opposition MSPs as Alex Salmond accuses Labour of worshipping at the feet of Rupert

    Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: Murdoch says felt great distress at behaviour of people he worked with for years, but he recognises distress of those arrested greater!


    The inquiry resumes. Mr Murdoch is now asked about a "cavalier attitude" on his papers towards business risk. Mr Murdoch denies it.

    1227: Breaking News

    The Culture Select Committee will give its long-awaited report on phone hacking next Tuesday, chairman John Whittingdale tells the BBC's Daily Politics.

    Keir Simmons ITV UK editor

    Tweets Lachlan Murdoch frequently checking his phone whilst listening to his father's evidence. Is he checking Twitter?

    Bloomberg's Robert Hutton

    tweets: Think Private Eye may need to increase its pagination next week. #leveson


    On future regulation of the press Mr Murdoch says: "The laws you've seen in force in last few months are perfectly adequate. It has been a failure of enforcement of the laws."

    Kevin Saul

    tweets: So if I understand #murdoch at #leveson correctly, he's employing the Tiswas defence. i.e "This is what they want!"


    Mr Murdoch says the internet is "now absolutely in our space". Says it has been responsible for a lot of loss of circulation and putting everyone under immense pressure.


    But he says the internet cannot be regulated as it is too vast. "There is a danger of regulating and putting controls in place which means in 10 years will be no papers to regulate. I believe papers are a huge benefit to society."


    Coming up later on the BBC's World At One: "Should the independent adviser on ministers' interests investigate if Jeremy Hunt broke the ministerial code?". Downing Street this morning said he won't be investigating.

    Robert Peston Business editor

    Tweets: Murdoch says newspapers will shrivel and die over 20 years - and it will all become electronic.


    Mr Murdoch now criticising BBC News online, saying it's one of the reasons why newspaper circulations are in decline.

    ITV News UK editor, Keir Simmons

    tweets: Murdoch delivering a long and despairing speech about how the internet will kill off newspapers. Funereal silence in the room. #Leveson

    Roy Greenslade

    tweets: come on LJL and Jay, interrupt this ramble and get him back to the point

    Adam White

    tweets: that Rupert Murdoch has to school #Leveson on the advent of digital technologies in the news world is tremendously worrying.

    Financial Times columnist John Gapper

    tweets: A random walk through the media


    Mr Murdoch finishes his speech saying: "The press today guarantees a varied press and democracy and we want democracy rather than autocracy."


    Meanwhile, BBC correspondent Colin Blane tells us there's been a row in the Scottish Parliament, as First Minister Alex Salmond was fiercely criticised over his willingness to lobby on Rupert Murdoch's behalf to assist News Corporation's attempt to take over the broadcaster BSkyB. Scottish Labour leader Johan Lamont said some would describe Alex Salmond as devious, conniving and double-dealing. She said a rich man had played him for a fool. Mr Salmond accused Labour of cant, humbug and hypocrisy. He said the job of a First Minister was to advocate jobs for Scotland and that's what he'd continue to do.

    M James in Kent

    texts: Murdoch put people out of work using technology now its doing the same to him, he wants to protect his copyrights.

    Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: "I've spent hundreds of millions of dollars" on internal investigation, says Murdoch. Really? Can it really be that much.


    A lawyer for Associated Newspapers now stands up. He picks Mr Murdoch up on a point he made earlier about Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre's commercial agenda driving editorial priorities. He says it it only referred to the BSkyB deal. Mr Murdoch accepts the point.


    Mr Murdoch reveals he once mortgaged his own apartment in New York to save his company.

    D Maxwell in Belfast

    texts: Murdoch is quite clearly a staunch capitalist and does not apologise for it. Very assured.

    Robert Peston Business editor

    tweets: I can't tell if Murdoch conceded in face of Mail clarification or not. #Leveson


    The lawyer for the NUJ is asking about evidence that reporters reported "endemic bullying and pressure" at News International. "Our journalists are perfectly free to make complaints and perfectly free to join the NUJ," Mr Murdoch replies.

    T Portilho-Shrimpton Hacked Off Campaign coordinator

    Tweets"Why didn't she resign?", asks Murdoch after hearing complaints from a reporter who's been bullied. Says it all, really

    Marion Smedley

    tweets: #leveson Ah. the real Murdoch speaks "if you're being bullied just resign" !


    tweets: Rupert Murdoch thinks his British journalists are a "happy crowd" #leveson

    Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets: This is remarkable stuff, Rupert Murdoch cross examined by NUJ


    Mr Murdoch says it's a good idea to give journalists the right to refuse to do something on ethical grounds in their contracts.


    And that's it! Lord Leveson thanks Mr Murdoch for the time he took preparing his evidence.

    Gordon Rayner Daily Telegraph chief reporter

    Tweets Jay gives Murdoch a warm handshake. Big smiles from both. Clearly no hard feelings


    Some reaction to Murdoch's appearance. Former NoTW journalist Tom Latchem tweets: "utterly fascinating. As fascinating as it was infuriating." Daily Telegraph editor Tony Gallagher tweets: "There is growing evidence of a Cameron-Murdoch sordid Grand Bargain."

    Keir Simmons, UK editor, ITV

    Tweets Wendi Deng tells Murdoch to be quiet as he walks past journalists putting her finger to her lips. Hurries husband out of the room.

    1340: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Says until today everyone thought Rupert Murdoch loved the News of The World but today he said he wish he'd closed it earlier. he was also under the impression if he had stepped in when allegations had emerged he could have got to the truth of it earlier.

    1349: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Adds that questions still remain as to which Rupert Murdoch we saw today. Is it the one who phones the Sunday Times on a Saturday only over "idle curiosity" over the news list, or is it the one whose opinion can be read in every Sun editorial? Was it the one who never asked an MP for anything or was it the one who said politicians knew his philosophy?

    1354: Ross Hawkins Political correspondent, BBC News

    Says next Tuesday sees a crucial report from MPs who have looked into phone hacking. "If that committee decides that in evidence to them, that James Murdoch in particular contradicted himself, that he misled the committee, all of a sudden it could be very difficult. Because there is a team at Ofcom looking at all this evidence and deciding whether BSkyB is a fit and proper holder of a broadcast licence. Then goes from a debate about embarrassment to real commercial impact."


    And that's all from our live coverage of Rupert Murdoch's second appearance at the Leveson Inquiry. To stay across developments our updating news story can be seen here.


The Leveson report

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