James Murdoch on the Independent's poster campaign: 'I thought they were really personalising an agenda against my father and my family'

Credit: Tim Ireland/PA

James Murdoch has confirmed he confronted former Independent editor-in-chief Simon Kelner with some "colourful language" about a poster campaign saying that: "Rupert Murdoch won't decide this election - you will".

The former News International chairman told the Leveson inquiry that he took action because he believed the campaign was "personalising an agenda against my father" - but he said that reports of him "storming into the newsroom" during the episode in 2010 were wide of the mark.

Murdoch said today: "I had a meeting in the building, at Associated [The Independent shares premises with Associated Newspapers, which publishes the Daily Mail].

"We went downstairs. I was upset and concerned because the Independent had not run an article about this but had put up a lot of giant billboards. I thought they were really personalising an agenda against my father and my family that I found inappropriate.

"I'm always a direct person. I knew Mr Kelner and was concerned about it. I went into the front door of the Independent. They didn't really have a desk or reception or a lock frankly, you are immediately in the middle of the newsroom, which I wasn't intending.

"I didn't storm in anywhere. I found Mr Kelner's desk and said could I speak to you for a minute. We went into his private office and I told him of my concerns. Whether or not I used colourful language I wouldn't dispute - there was no storming in, it didn't happen out in the open. There was certainly no storming in the newsroom.

"Mr Kelner had been availing himself of the hospitality of my family for a number of years. I thought this was beyond the pale and not a decent way to go about his business."

Kelner responded on Twitter: "Murdoch says I was 'availing myself of his family's hospitality for a number of years'? Evidence? Complete slur. Have never once been to a Murdoch summer or Christmas party. Unlike most of the political or media establishment."

The Guardian reported at the time that Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks "burst their way into the offices of the Independent to give executives a hard time". A source told the paper: "They barged in and Kelner had to take them into an office where discussions took place. Rebekah was observed in gesticulating mode."

Murdoch also confirmed today that he discussed his bid to buy the remaining shares in BSkyB with prime minister David Cameron at a dinner in December 2010.

His witness statement says: "I recall speaking briefly to the Prime Minister on one occasion about the proposal. This was on 23 December 2010, at a dinner hosted by Rebekah and Charlie Brooks and attended by a number of other people.

"It took place two days after responsibility for the matter had passed to the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, Jeremy Hunt, from the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable."

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