Opening questions from Robert Jay QC looked back at his relationship with former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. He denied asking for any favours in relation Murdoch’s bid for the Times newspaper group, which he now owns.
He was asked about the print trade unions in the 80s to which he said: “I didn’t have the will to crush the unions, I might have had the desire but that took several years.”
The strong backing from government of his decision to move printing operations from Fleet Street to Wapping led to a strike which eventually collapsed.
On The Sun newspaper which he turned into the most read newspaper in the country he said: “The Sun has never been a better newspaper than it is today.” He went on to say he couldn’t say the same for his rivals.
Yesterday his son James gave evidence revealing a batch of emails between News Corp and the office of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Pressure has continued today for Hunt to resign although he has insisted he will not resign and wants to go before the inquiry to give his side.
Murdoch was asked about The Sun’s role in elections. As with most papers, they choose to back a political party although claims that Murdoch can ‘influence’ election results has been raised in the past. He said “We just don’t have that sort of power” when referring to the 1992 infamous headline in The Sun claiming they won the election for the Tories. He said that editor at the time, Kelvin MacKenzie, was ‘told-off’ for running the front page claims.
The backing of New Labour and Tony Blair he says came with his approval and confirms that he wanted to know the extent of Labour policy and promises before deciding to back the party. In 2010, The Sun moved is backing of Labour to David Cameron and the Conservatives.