Clegg 'ignored prior to coalition'
Nick Clegg has described how the Press "ignored or derided" him and the Liberal Democrats before they entered government.
The Deputy Prime Minister said at one dinner party attended by Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks in 2009 he was placed at the end of the table "where the children sit".
He insisted it was now time for politicians to "get off their knees" and stop "pandering" to the media. The comments came as Mr Clegg gave evidence to the Leveson inquiry, the day before David Cameron is due to take his turn in the witness box.
He said when he won the party leadership in 2007 most senior figures in the Press did not "know me from Adam".
At the dinner party two years years later attended by Mr Murdoch, Mrs Brooks and Sunday Times editor John Witherow, Mr Clegg said he had been little more than "an observer", adding: "I was at the very end of the table, where the children sit, so to speak."
In March 2010 he had lunch with Sun editor Dominic Mohan, and then a "brief" meeting with Mrs Brooks and Mr Murdoch lasting a maximum of 10 minutes.
But Mr Clegg said his strong performance in the first televised general election leaders' debate had sparked a major shift in attitudes towards him and his party. Papers had felt threatened when his poll ratings spiked and started "lashing out".
"If that is what you are used to in the Press it must come as a bit of a shock, I guess, when you suddenly have these people who you have been either ignoring or deriding suddenly doing well in a general election, you start lashing out a bit, and that is what happened," Mr Clegg said.
Mr Clegg related a conversation with former prime minister Gordon Brown in the wake of the inconclusive general election. After it became clear that Labour and the Lib Dems would not be forming a government, Mr Brown "said to me words along the lines of, 'You do realise this is all about Murdoch, that Murdoch wants the Conservatives in government', and so on and so forth."
Mr Clegg gave details of an apparent warning over the BSkyB bid which was conveyed though his then parliamentary aide Norman Lamb. The MP had been told "that it would be good for the Lib Dems to be open to the bid, otherwise we would expect no favourable treatment from the Murdoch press", according to the Deputy Prime Minister.