The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

A bit broad. I hope not is the answer I was going to give, but I immediately go on to say it depends what you mean by transactional. You have great masses of evidence before you of that, and it probably hasn't -- there's always been something of that there.

For some peculiar reason, the politics of the last 15 years have been dominated by competition for the support of the Sun newspaper. Once we have the evidence out of this Inquiry, we shall know quite how people set about that and what they did to achieve that. I personally do not think the Sun as a newspaper has ever had any great significant effect on the outcome of any election in my lifetime, but obviously it was thought by some to be terribly important, and desperate lengths were gone to, to try to fight over its support.

The Inquiry has much better witnesses to know what all went around that.

I share the rather more jaundiced view which has been expressed by many people, including some journalists, that what Mr Murdoch and the Sun newspaper are very good at doing is changing sides when it's obvious that the horse they're riding is about to collapse, and that they anticipate when the change of power is coming. When it was perfectly obvious to a 5-year-old that the Major government couldn't survive the 1997 election, they transferred support to the Labour government. When it was obvious that Gordon Brown was completely and utterly unelectable against anybody, they transferred their support to us. Unfortunately, I don't actually blame the Sun for this, we didn't actually win the election despite that.

So I remain much more laid-back about all of this. I cannot understand the excitement that appears to have been demonstrated over the years about the support of the Sun newspaper.

I get on quite well with Gordon Brown, I'm not citing him, but I think Gordon more than anybody else was utterly obsessed about whether the Sun newspaper was going to endorse him. He was meant to be governing the country.

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