Sir Harold Evans has hit back at Rupert Murdoch’s attack on him made during evidence to Leveson today.
Murdoch claimed in testimony that 30 years ago, Evans was editor of The Times:
“He came to me, shut the door behind him and said ‘Look, tell me what you want to say, what do you want me to say and it needn’t leave this room, but I will do it’.
“And I said to him ‘Harry, that isn’t my job. All I would say to you, and this is the nearest I have ever come to an instruction, was to please be consistent. Don’t change sides day by day, I am not saying political stories, but on issues’.”
Evans has always claimed that Murdoch sacked him because he refused to toe the proprietorial line, in contravention of undertakings that the independence of The Times would be protected.
“It was comic and sad to see Rupert Murdoch testify at the Leveson Inquiry this morning dealing with all the charges against him. It was comic for me because he had to find a way of denying that he ever broke his promise to maintain the independence of The Times under my editorship. Political independence was only one of the promises he made and broke. It was sad that, having lost his memory, he compensated by spectacular displays of imagination. On the stand he invented a scene in which I came on my knees, begging him to tell me what to think, and not to tell anybody that I’d asked him.”