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Gordon Brown MP

Former prime minister

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Stories involving Gordon Brown

Brown appointed UN education envoy

GordonBrown has been appointed as the United Nations Special Envoy for Education, the UN has announced.

The former Prime Minister will launch a new UN initiative for universal education in September which will campaign for a fund to finance schools and train 2 million teachers worldwide.

In a statement, Mr Brown said: "Ensuring that every child in the world has the opportunity to go to school and to learn is a longstanding passion of mine... Education breaks the cycle of poverty and unlocks better health and better job prospects."


Murdoch claim contradicted

Former PM Sir John Major has revealed that Rupert Murdoch threatened to withdraw support from him if he did not change his policy on the European Union.

The new evidence, given to the Leveson Inquiry, appears to contradict the claim by Mr Murdoch that he had never asked a prime minister for a favour.

 Sir John described a dinner with Mr Murdoch in the run-up to the 1997 election, in which the proprietor said his papers could not support the Conservative Government unless the changes were made. He said that Mr Murdoch "didn't make the usual nod towards editorial independence", but that he ignored his entreaties anyway.

He also criticised the claim by newspaper proprietors that they could not be expected to know what their reporters were doing in order to obtain stories. Sir John told the hearing: “It defies credibility that they actually don't know what is happening and I think the 'I had no idea what was going on below me' argument is one that I find extremely difficult to accept."

Later, Gordon Brown’s claim that he was unaware of briefing by his special advisers against Tony Blair came under fire from Ed Miliband today.

The Labour leader told the Leveson Inquiry Charlie Whelan, one of Mr Brown's advisers, had left his position due to briefing.

He told the Inquiry: “Ed Balls, no. Charlie Whelan left, I believe in 1999 – left the Government in 1999. One of the reasons he left was because of his style of operation. I can’t point you to direct evidence but I would say one of the things he did was he briefed, including potentially against people in the government.

“On Damian McBride, when I was a Cabinet minister, I did raise a specific concern that I had with Mr Brown, I believe in 2008, about some of Mr McBride’s activities.”

Mr Miliband also urged Lord Leveson to look into the issue of how power in the newspaper market is concentrated, suggesting a limit of between 20 and 30% of the market. This led Lord Leveson to lament the way his terms of reference “grew like a mushroom cloud”.

You can catch up on all the action from today's Inquiry with our liveblog here.


Detectives ran criminal checks on Labour MPs

The Leveson Inquiry is set to investigate evidence that private detectives bought access to data, including criminal record checks on a number of senior Labour politicians. Among those claimed to have been targeted are ex-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, former Agriculture Minister Nick Brown and backbencher Martin Salter.


Murdoch stands by claim

Rupert Murdoch has stood behind his comments to the Leveson Inquiry that Gordon Brown called him to “declare war” on News International after the Sun’s endorsement of the Conservatives.

Despite the Cabinet Office today releasing information supporting Mr Brown’s denial, the News Corporation chairman tweeted today: “I stand by every word is aid [sic] at Leveson.”

The Cabinet Office earlier confirmed only one phone call took place between Gordon Brown and Rupert Murdoch in 2010, when the two men apparently spoke about Afghanistan.

Mr Brown and Mr Murdoch gave contradictory evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, Mr Murdoch saying that Mr Brown warned him in 2010: "Your company has declared war on my Government and we have no alternative but to make war on your company."

The Cabinet Office statement read: "That call took place on the 10th of November 2009. This was followed up by an email from Gordon Brown to Rupert Murdoch on the same day referring to the earlier conversation on Afghanistan.

"Four witness statements have been submitted to the Inquiry on the content of the call by staff who worked in No.10 Downing Street and who were the four and sole personnel on the phone call."


Party leaders to appear at Leveson

David Cameron, George Osborne, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband will appear before the Leveson Inquiry into media standards next week, it was announced today.

The Chancellor and former prime minister Gordon Brown will appear on Monday, before Mr Miliband, Harriet Harman and former prime minister John Major give evidence on Tuesday.

The Deputy Prime Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond will be appearing on Wednesday, before Mr Cameron gives evidence on Thursday.

The full schedule can be found on the Inquiry's website here.

 


Murdoch: I should have closed NotW sooner

Rupert Murdoch has admitted there was a "cover up" at News of the World over the phone hacking scandal.

But Tom Crone, the newspaper's former legal manager, hit back at Mr Murdoch's evidence, releasing a statement claiming insinuations that he was involved in a cover up are a "shameful lie".

Giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry for the second day, Mr Murdoch said there was "no question" in his mind that "someone took charge of a cover up".

The News Corp chairman insisted he and other senior executives were "misinformed" about the extent of phone-hacking at the tabloid, which he was forced to close last summer.

Mr Murdoch said he "panicked" when he made the decision to close the paper, and added he wishes he had done it sooner.

“I panicked. I'm glad I did," he said.

"I’m sorry I didn’t close it years before and put a Sunday Sun in but I’ll tell you what held us back – the News of the World readers.”

He put much of the blame for the lack of transparency at the News of the World on senior executives at the time such as Len Hinton and Colin Myler, as well as the lawyers used by News Corp to investigate. However he still apologised for the scandal, which he described as a “serious blot on my reputation”.

Elsewhere in the testimony, Mr Murdoch defended his comments yesterday that Gordon Brown had “declared war” on the Murdoch newspapers, after the former Prime Minister today dismissed them as “wholly wrong”.


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