Brown's tears over NI revelations

Gordon Brown leaves Downing Street with his wife Sarah and children John and Fraser
Gordon Brown leaves Downing Street with his wife Sarah and children John and Fraser. Photo: Getty Images

By Alex Stevenson

Gordon Brown has broadened his attack against News International by accusing it of links with the "criminal underworld".

The former prime minister said he had shed tears after the Sun newspaper published a story in October 2006 about his son Fraser having cystic fibrosis.

He insisted he was not making allegations against Rupert Murdoch's embattled media empire but claimed that it had used "known criminals" to access personal information.

"They told me they had this story about Fraser's medical condition and that they were going to run this story," he said in an interview with the BBC.

"Your son is now going to be broadcast across the media, Sarah and I are incredibly upset about it. We're thinking about his long-term future, we're thinking about our family. But there's nothing that you can do about it. You're in public life.

"I've not questioned how it appeared, I've not made any allegations about how it appeared, I've not made any claims about how it appeared, but the fact is it did appear and it did appear in The Sun newspaper."

News International did not offer a comment on the claim that its journalists had worked with known criminals, or that it had engaged in a criminal conspiracy.

But it insisted that the story about Fraser Brown's medical condition had been obtained through legal means.

News International's chief executive Rebekah Brooks, the Sun's editor at the time, called Mr Brown to inform him that the paper was running the story about his four-month-old son.

"I have never talked publicly about Fraser's condition," Mr Brown added.

"Obviously we wanted to keep that private. As a parent, you want to do your best by your children."

He said he did not want his son to discover news stories about himself on the internet when he reached the age of six or seven years old.

"They will have to explain themselves," the former Labour leader said.

"I can't think of any way that the medical condition of a child can be put into the public domain legitimately unless the doctor makes a public statement or the family make a statement."

Mr Brown also claimed the Sunday Times had published a story about him purchasing a flat owned by Robert Maxwell at a "knockdown" price "with the purpose of bringing me down as a government minister".

"I had my bank account broken into. I had my legal files effectively broken into. My tax returns went missing at one point. Medical records were broken into. I don't know how this happened," he said.

"I do know that in two instances, there is absolute proof that News International hired people to do this and the people who are doing this are criminals, known criminals in some cases with records of violence and fraud."


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