Sir Harold Evans

Sir Harold claims Murdoch had a 'determination to impose his will and destroy the editorial guarantees he'd given'

Credit: By David Shankbone (Sir Harold Evans and his Paper Chase life) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

The former editor of the Sunday Times and the Times Sir Harold Evans today spoke of an alleged "campaign" against him by News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch, claiming he became "disgusted, dismayed and demoralised" with "the atmosphere" during his role as Times editor.

Sir Harold became editor in 1981 following Murdoch's successful bid for the Times and the Sunday Times. Sir Harold had also sought a management buyout of the Sunday Times in 1981.

During his evidence to the Leveson inquiry today Sir Harold said there was a "fatal miscalculation" in that it was assumed Murdoch's 1981 bid for the titles would not go through "because of the law of the monopolies commission".

But Murdoch's bid was successful and he took ownership of the titles that year.

Sir Harold claimed that as owner Rupert Murdoch had a "determination to impose his will and destroy the editorial guarantees he'd given".

Giving evidence via video-link from the US, Sir Harold spoke of a gradual distancing between himself and Murdoch, which he said was because he (Sir Harold) would "not support the policy of the government come what may".

Sir Harold went on to recount a number of examples where he and Murdoch came to blows, adding that by March 1982 he was "so furious", claiming that the pledges Murdoch had made to parliament had been broken.

"It seemed such a betrayal of the things [Sir Denis] Hamilton, I and [William] Rees-Mogg had fought for."

He added that it got to a point where he "was absolutely disgusted, dismayed and demoralised by living in a vindictive, punitive atmosphere, where every paperclip was challenged."

"I honestly didn't think I wanted to endure any more ... I was trying to produce a newspaper in impossible circumstances. That's why I resigned."

Sir Harold left the post of editor of the Times a year after being appointed.

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