Some MPs have told "total lies", says Rupert Murdoch

Murdoch denies he is going to sell up and hits out at Gordon Brown in his first interview since the

Rupert Murdoch has given his first significant public comments since the scandal engulfing News Corporation broke. Speaking to his own newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, he vigorously defended the company's actions and hit back at accusations against him.

He said that News Corp had handled the crisis "extremely well in every way possible," making just "minor mistakes." This is despite claims by the Metropolitan Police that News International hindered its investigation.

Murdoch also addressed his appearance in front of a Commons select committee next Tuesday. He agreed to attend yesterday after initially declining. He said he wanted to:

[Address] some of the things that have been said in parliament, some of which are total lies. We think it's important to absolutely establish our integrity in the eyes of the public......I felt that it's best just to be as transparent as possible.

He singled out former prime minister Gordon Brown, who has accused reporters at News International of accessing his son's medical records and gave a rabble-rousing speech attacking Murdoch and News International in the Commons on Wednesday, saying: "He got it entirely wrong".

Murdoch added that "the Browns were always friends of ours" until the Sun withdrew its support for Labour before the last election. His biographer, Michael Wolff, tweeted that in the interview "Murdoch seemed genuinely distressed about Brown not liking him anymore".

In the last few days, speculation has been rife that Murdoch might sell off his British newspaper titles to prevent contagion in his empire. Murdoch, who is famously committed to the newspaper business, responded to these rumous:

Pure rubbish. Pure and total rubbish....give it the strongest possible denial you can give.

He also said he was confident that the damage to News Corp was "nothing that will not be recovered". Unsurprisingly, the Sun King is fighting back.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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This is no time for a coup against a successful Labour leader

Don't blame Jeremy Corbyn for the Labour Party's crisis.

"The people who are sovereign in our party are the members," said John McDonnell this morning. As the coup against Jeremy Corbyn gains pace, the Shadow Chancellor has been talking a lot of sense. "It is time for people to come together to work in the interest of the country," he told Peston on Sunday, while emphasising that people will quickly lose trust in politics altogether if this internal squabbling continues. 

The Tory party is in complete disarray. Just days ago, the first Tory leader in 23 years to win a majority for his party was forced to resign from Government after just over a year in charge. We have some form of caretaker Government. Those who led the Brexit campaign now have no idea what to do. 

It is disappointing that a handful of Labour parliamentarians have decided to join in with the disintegration of British politics.

The Labour Party had the opportunity to keep its head while all about it lost theirs. It could have positioned itself as a credible alternative to a broken Government and a Tory party in chaos. Instead we have been left with a pathetic attempt to overturn the democratic will of the membership. 

But this has been coming for some time. In my opinion it has very little to do with the ramifications of the referendum result. Jeremy Corbyn was asked to do two things throughout the campaign: first, get Labour voters to side with Remain, and second, get young people to do the same.

Nearly seven in ten Labour supporters backed Remain. Young voters supported Remain by a 4:1 margin. This is about much more than an allegedly half-hearted referendum performance.

The Parliamentary Labour Party has failed to come to terms with Jeremy Corbyn’s emphatic victory. In September of last year he was elected with 59.5 per cent of the vote, some 170,000 ahead of his closest rival. It is a fact worth repeating. If another Labour leadership election were to be called I would expect Jeremy Corbyn to win by a similar margin.

In the recent local elections Jeremy managed to increase Labour’s share of the national vote on the 2015 general election. They said he would lose every by-election. He has won them emphatically. Time and time again Jeremy has exceeded expectation while also having to deal with an embittered wing within his own party.

This is no time for a leadership coup. I am dumbfounded by the attempt to remove Jeremy. The only thing that will come out of this attempted coup is another leadership election that Jeremy will win. Those opposed to him will then find themselves back at square one. Such moves only hurt Labour’s electoral chances. Labour could be offering an ambitious plan to the country concerning our current relationship with Europe, if opponents of Jeremy Corbyn hadn't decided to drop a nuke on the party.

This is a crisis Jeremy should take no responsibility for. The "bitterites" will try and they will fail. Corbyn may face a crisis of confidence. But it's the handful of rebel Labour MPs that have forced the party into a crisis of existence.

Liam Young is a commentator for the IndependentNew Statesman, Mirror and others.