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Who pulled the rug from Labour? Not Murdoch, says Sun editor

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By Noel Young, Correspondent

January 10, 2012 | 3 min read

The Sun's decision to back the Tories in the 2010 general election was not taken by Rupert Murdoch - but was a "group decision", editor Dominic Mohan told the Leveson inquiry yesterday.

Editor "gets off lightly"

He told the hearing in London that the proprietor supported the decision but was not solely responsible for it.

Asked why the paper made the switch from Labour during the 2009 Labour conference, Mohan said: "I think for some time we felt that perhaps … it was time for a change. We certainly sensed that among our readers and I think I reflected that."

Mohan told Leveson that the Sun was always good at capturing the "zeitgeist" of the nation and felt it was the right thing to abandon Gordon Brown and switch to David Cameron. Counsel to the inquiry Robert Jay QC asked Mohan: "Did he [Murdoch] support the change of allegiances or not?"

Mohan replied: "I believe he did. Yes."

Asked by Jay whether the idea of changing sides was Murdoch's or his, Mohan replied: "I mean, it was a group decision. Me and my fellow executives felt that was the right way to go and we made our feelings known to Mr Murdoch."

Mohan said he who would sometimes go months without talking to the paper's editor.

"Sometimes he might ring several times a week, other times I might not hear from him for a month or two," Mohan added.

Ex-eiitor Kelvin MacKenzie, told the inquiry earlier he spoke to Murdoch virtually every day when he was in charge for 13 years .

MacKenzie attacked previous evidence from former breakfast TV presenter Anne Diamond, who he said was "a devalued witness".

Last year, she told the inquiry that Rupert Murdoch's former butler had said the Sun proprietor had told his editors to "go after" her after she asked Murdoch at a meeting how he slept at night knowing his newspapers were ruining people's lives.

"Over 13 years working with Rupert Murdoch, he never said go get anybody," said MacKenzie.

In a comment piece, Guardian writer Dan Sabbagh described the session as "tame."

" So gently was the Sun editor challenged that we learned more about the title's hit charity records than where to draw the ethical line in the "white heat" of the newsroom. "

Sabbagh added, "Robert Jay was tougher on Piers Morgan, who last edited a paper in 2005, than on Mohan."

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