Cameron: Murdoch deal a 'specious conspiracy theory'

Gordon Brown invented a “specious and unjustified conspiracy theory” that the Tories did a deal with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire because of his anger at being dumped by The Sun, David Cameron said yesterday.

The claim was “absolute nonsense from start to finish”, the Prime Minister told the Leveson Inquiry into press standards.

Brown claimed in his evidence to the inquiry earlier this week that there was an “express deal” to cut funding to the BBC and media regulator Ofcom in return for more political support from News International titles.

But an angry Cameron dismissed the claim, saying it resulted from the fact that Mr Brown had been “very angry and disappointed” at The Sun’s decision to switch support from Labour ahead of the 2010 general election.

“He has cooked up a specious and unjustified conspiracy theory to justify his anger,” Mr Cameron told the inquiry.

There had been neither overt deals, covert deals, and no “nods and winks” and no question of “trading policies for that support”.

Cameron also denied suggestions that while no covert deal had been done, his media policy was “not a million miles away” from what the Murdochs wanted.

He also suggested that counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC was straying into “witchcraft trials” territory with his questions.

He asked Jay: “How do you possibly prove you are innocent on that basis?

“Not only was there no covert deal, there was no overt deal and there wasn’t nods and winks.

“The policies I produced, that I am proud of, came from our beliefs, values, my history, my beliefs. They were not dictated by anybody else.”

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