Rupert Murdoch to address inquiry

Rupert Murdoch is to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry

Rupert Murdoch is to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry

First published in National News © by

Rupert Murdoch is expected to lift the lid on his meetings with top British politicians when he gives evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.

The 81-year-old media tycoon's appearance comes after his son James's testimony on Tuesday led to calls for the resignation of Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

The press standards inquiry heard claims that Mr Hunt backed News Corporation's bid to take over BSkyB and leaked inside information to the media giant.

Labour has called for the Culture Secretary's resignation after the release of a 163-page dossier of emails detailing contacts between his office and senior News Corporation executive Frederic Michel.

Mr Hunt, who said it was "not a time for knee-jerk reactions", later wrote to Lord Justice Leveson asking if his appearance could be brought forward, promising in a statement that his evidence would show the public he had conducted the process "with scrupulous fairness".

Rupert Murdoch, News Corp's chairman and chief executive, faces a two-day grilling under oath. He will be asked about the phone-hacking scandal, which led to the closure of the 168-year-old News of the World last July after revelations that the paper listened to the voicemails of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

He will also be questioned about his oversight of his UK newspapers, and whether he exerted undue influence over British public life through his papers and his regular meetings with prime ministers and other leading politicians.

The billionaire told the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee last July that he met David Cameron "within days" of the 2010 general election and was invited to Downing Street by Gordon Brown "many times". Tony Blair is godfather to one of his children.

News Corp still owns The Sun, The Times and the Sunday Times, and has a 39% stake in satellite broadcaster BSkyB.

The Leveson Inquiry has a wide-ranging remit to examine the culture, practices and ethics of the press, and make recommendations for the future regulation of British newspapers. It has already taken evidence on unethical and possibly illegal behaviour by journalists, and on relations between police and newspapers. Inquiry chairman Lord Justice Leveson is now turning to contacts between politicians and the national press.

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