Cameron denies pact with Murdochs

Sun, Apr 29, 2012, 01:00

British prime minister David Cameron insisted today there was no “grand deal” between himself and the Murdochs to wave through News Corporation’s takeover of BSkyB.

Mr Cameron admitted that some of his contacts with Rupert Murdoch’s media empire were embarrassing and that he might have done things differently.

But he maintained it was “not true” there was any agreement that in return for the Murdochs’ support of the Government he would help their business interests or allow the BSkyB merger to go through.

“It would be absolutely wrong for there to be any sort of deal and there wasn’t he told BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show. “There was no grand deal.”

Mr Cameron admitted that he courted Murdoch newspapers in opposition, but said it was “no great mystery” as he had tried to win over many media outlets.

“The thing that people are asking is was there some big deal, some big agreement between me and Rupert Murdoch or James Murdoch that in return for support for the Conservative Party I would somehow help their business interests or allow this merger to go through,” he said.

“That is not true. Rupert Murdoch said it under oath at the Leveson Inquiry, James Murdoch said it under oath, I will say it under oath.

“I did want the support of as many newspapers and television commentators for the Conservative Party because I wanted to take the country in a different direction.

“When it comes to the Murdoch newspapers, I was trying to convince a set of newspapers with largely centre-right, conservative views anyway, that they would be better off with the Conservative Party running the country.

“There is no great mystery here - that is what I was trying to do.”

PA