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Ex-PM Refers Sunday Times Row To Police

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Ex-PM Refers Sunday Times Row To Police

Post by Guest on 16.07.11 21:01

Ex-PM Refers Sunday Times Row To Police

8:58pm UK, Saturday July 16, 2011

Peter Spencer, political correspondent

Gordon Brown's row with The Sunday Times has taken a bitter turn, after the former prime minister referred the matter to police.

In a rare Commons appearance since he left office, Mr Brown lambasted the paper in last week's debate on the phone-hacking scandal, claiming that the paper, and others owned by News International, had illegally obtained information about him and his family.

But his claim that unacceptable methods were used against him have prompted a furious rebuttal from the News International title.

The paper insists: "We used subterfuge, as permitted under the Press Complaints Commission Code".

It was the paper's further assertion in an emailed letter, that Mr Brown had accused it of paying "known criminals", which led him to contact police.

In a statement, the former prime minister's office says the Sunday Times had sought to "manufacture claims which were never made and to distort those that were".

To date (Gordon Brown) has provided no evidence whatsoever for this slur. We sent a letter to him today asking him to justify his claims.

Sunday Times statement
The Sunday Times responded by saying: "Mr Brown made serious false allegations last week that the Sunday Times paid 'known criminals' to work against 'completely defenceless people'.

"To date he has provided no evidence whatsoever for this slur. We sent a letter to him today asking him to justify his claims."

The investigation, conducted 11 years ago, was launched in the belief that Mr Brown had bought a flat at a knockdown price from a company once owned by Robert Maxwell.

With both protagonists in the current dispute adamant that they are right and the other side is wrong, this row is set to rumble on.

It is indicative of Rupert Murdoch's determination to say sorry for wrongdoing, but to refuse to take the rap for charges of which he believes his company is innocent.

It also starkly underlines the sense of pent-up emotion permeating politics and the media at the moment, and the widespread and voracious hunger to settle old scores

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