Peter Hoskin

The war between Brown and Murdoch heats up

The war between Brown and Murdoch heats up
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Gordon may have come carrying dynamite, but News International has some explosives of its own. In a pair of statements this afternoon, the Sun and the Sunday Times have set about undermining, or just plain denying, our former Prime Minister's testimony. By the Sun's account, not only did they get the story about his son's medical condition from a "member of the public [who] came to The Sun with this information voluntarily because he wanted to highlight the cause of those afflicted by [cystic fibrosis]," but Brown's colleagues also "provided quotes" to be used in the final article. By the Sunday Times's, their investigation into Brown's property transactions was pursued "in the public interest," and "followed the PCC Code on using subterfuge." All of a sudden, that interview earlier plays more like a film noir; steeped in mystery and dark shadows.

At this stage, this is News International's artillery against Gordon Brown's — but the newspaper group certainly appears confident of victory. The Sun's statement notes that the person who volunteered the information about Brown's son has "provided a written affidavit this afternoon to a lawyer confirming this." If so, then it's not an ideal set-up for Ed Miliband, ahead of his vote tomorrow. The Labour leader has been at pains to make his party's concern in this matter appear humanitarian, not factional. Yet if Brown has slipped up in anyway, then it could undo some of that work.