Gordon Brown's 'grudge' against the media

The first stage of Gordon Brown's evidence has shown that he still bears a grudge against the media for the way he claims he was unfairly characterised during his time as Prime Minister.

In true Gordon Brown-style he has given some lengthy answers to the questions put to him by Lord Justice Leveson's counsel Robert Jay QC.

Gordon Brown at the Leveson Inquiry Credit: Leveson Pool

The coverage of his leadership of the Afghanistan campaign, he said, was simply an attempt to claim he did not care about the fate of British soldiers on the front line, even though defence chiefs, he told the inquiry, supported him.

He has also denied ever receiving any favourable coverage from The Sun newspaper during his time as Prime Minister.

He said the paper tried to disrupt his first party conference as leader by demanding a referendum on Europe.

The newspaper, owned by News International, also ran a campaign about "Broken Britain" which Mr Brown said was then picked up by the Conservative Party. "At no point did I ever feel I had the support of The Sun," he said.

He also criticised the way in which stories were covered by Westminster journalists. "Unless it had been given as an exclusive to a newspaper," he said, "it tended to be on page 6 rather than page 1."

The inquiry then turned to the story, broken by The Sun, that his son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Gordon Brown said he had a letter from the NHS in his home county of Fife to apologise for an unauthorised leak.

"No child's medical information, particularly at 4 months old, is ever of interest to the public," he told the inquiry.

He denied claims made by the former boss of News International, Rebekah Brooks, that Mr Brown and his wife Sarah had given permission to publish the story.

He said, "If my son ever read on the internet that his parents gave permission, he'd be shocked at the failure of his parents.

"Why, Mr Brown was then asked, did his wife remain friends with Rebekah Brooks after The Sun had published the story of his son's illness? "Sarah is one of most forgiving people I know," Mr Brown replied.