By Guy Faulconbridge and Kate Holton

LONDON, June 11 (Reuters) - Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown accused media tycoon Rupert Murdoch on Monday of misleading a government-sponsored inquiry into press ethics with incorrect testimony alleging Brown had threatened war against Murdoch's company.

"This conversation never took place. I am shocked and surprised that it should be suggested," Brown told the Leveson inquiry. "This call did not happen. The threat was not made."

"I find it shocking," Brown said."This did not happen. There is no evidence that it happened other than Mr Murdoch's but it didn't happen."

Murdoch had told the inquiry under oath that Brown phoned him in September 2009 after the Sun newspaper started supporting the Conservative Party. Brown vowed to wage war on Murdoch's company in revenge, he testified.

"We were talking more quietly than you or I are now - he said, 'Well, your company has declared war on my government and we have no alternative but to make war on your company,'" Murdoch told the inquiry in April.

When pressed on how a serving prime minister could make such a threat, Murdoch told the inquiry: "I don't think he was in a very balanced state of mind".

Brown, who served as prime minister from 2007 to 2010, said that Murdoch was wrong about both the date and the contents of the phone call.

Statements submitted to a media watchdog by five of Brown's advisers, and seen by Reuters, show none of the five heard Brown threaten Murdoch on the call.

Aides to Brown, including his special adviser, director of strategy and deputy chief of staff, said in statements submitted to the Press Complaints Commission last year that Brown made no such threat on the call, which took place in November not September as Murdoch had said.

"I listened to the phone call between Mr Brown and Mr. Murdoch in November 2009," Stewart Wood, special adviser to the Prime Minister's office, said in a statement dated October 2011 that Reuters has seen.

"At no point in the conversation was threatening language of any sort used by either Mr Brown or Mr Murdoch," Wood said.

In one of the other corroborating statement, lawmaker Michael Dugher, wrote: "At no time did Mr Brown threaten the position of News International. Both Mr. Brown and Mr. Murdoch were entirely courteous and calm."

A former British leader accusing Murdoch of misleading the inquiry under oath will further tarnish the reputation of the world's most powerful media tycoon in a country which is home to some of his biggest newspaper and broadcasting interests.

A British parliamentary committee which investigated allegations of illegal phone-hacking by Murdoch publications has already deemed the Australian-born tycoon unfit to manage a major global company.

The cross-party parliamentary committee said in May that Murdoch was ultimately responsible for the illegal phone hacking that has corroded his global media empire and convulsed Britain's political elite.


BROWN'S SON

Brown also challenged a version of events given by Murdoch's deputy, Rebekah Brooks, about a Sun report that Brown's four-month-old son Fraser had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis.

Brooks, a close Murdoch confidante who was charged last month with interfering with a police investigation into the phone hacking scandal, told the inquiry the Browns had given their backing to the story.

"I have never sought to bring my children into the public domain," Brown said. He denied his consent had been given to publish the story.

"I find it sad that even now in 2012 members of the News International staff are coming to this inquiry and maintaining this fiction."

The former prime minister has questioned whether the paper had hacked into his son's medical records to get the story. Brooks has denied this and Murdoch has said the story was broken when a father of another child tipped off the newspaper.

"A father from the hospital in a similar position had called us, told us," Murdoch said in his testimony.

But Brown told the inquiry that the National Health Service in Fife had apologised to his family because information about his son came from NHS staff.

"There were only a few medical people who knew that our son had this condition," Brown said.

He said the NHS in Fife "now believe it highly likely that there was unauthorised information given by a medical or working member of the NHS staff that allowed the Sun through this middle man to publish this story," Brown said.

The Sun ran a story in July 2011 under the headline "Brown Wrong" which said the source of the story was a "shattered dad" who had a son with the genetic disorder and that Brown's wife, Sarah, had given the newspaper consent to run the story.

Brooks said on May 11 at Leveson that a small donation was made to the cystic fibrosis charity at the request of the man.

But Reuters has seen a copy of a letter from the chief executive of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, Ed Owen, saying the Trust found no record of any donation by The Sun or News International at the time of the story.

The Sun newspaper also reported that its readers had helped Cystic Fibrosis Trust double its donations in the wake of their story about Fraser. But the letter from the Cystic Fibrosis Trust showed they had seen no significant increase in donations.

Regardless of who the source was, the subject of a front page splash detailing the serious illness of a four-month baby is likely to prove unedifying and garner sympathy for Brown, who has rarely appeared in public since he left office in 2010.

Murdoch described a relationship with Brown - whose political career effectively ended when he lost an election to incumbent Prime Minister David Cameron in 2010 - that included meals which their wives attended and conversations on topics ranging from charity to the war in Afghanistan.

Brooks told the Leveson inquiry she formed a friendship with Sarah Brown and that they had had a "pyjama party" at the prime minister's official country residence, Chequers, with Murdoch's daughter, Elisabeth, and his wife, Wendi.

But Murdoch said their relationship worsened after his media companies opposed Brown ahead of the 2010 election.

Brown told parliament in 2011 that News International was part of a "criminal-media-nexus" that had broken the law on an industrial scale.

Loading Slideshow...
  • Rupert Murdoch

    In this image from video, News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch appears at Lord Justice Brian Leveson's inquiry in London, Wednesday April 25, 2012 to answer questions under oath about how much he knew about phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid. Murdoch is being grilled on his relationship with British politicians at the country's media ethics inquiry, while a government minister is battling accusations he gave News Corp. privileged access in its bid to take over a major broadcaster. (AP Photo/Pool)

  • Rupert Murdoch, Wendi Deng

    News Corp. chairman Rupert Murdoch and his wife Wendi Deng leave the High Court in London after giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry, Thursday, April 26, 2012. (AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • James Murdoch

    In this image from video, former News International chairman James Murdoch appears at Lord Justice Brian Leveson's inquiry in London Tuesday April 24 2012 to answer questions under oath about how much he knew about phone hacking at the News of the World tabloid. Revelations that reporters had hacked into the phone of a teenage murder victim led James Murdoch's father Rupert to close the 168-year-old newspaper and triggered three police investigations as well as the judge-led inquiry into media practices. Rupert Murdoch, who is still chairman and chief executive of News International's parent company News Corp., will appear before the inquiry Wednesday. (AP Photo/Pool)

  • Piers Morgan

  • Andy Coulson

    Andy Coulson, the former editor of the News of the World newspaper and former director of communications for Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, leaves after appearing at the Leveson Inquiry at the High Court in central London, Thursday, May 10, 2012. Britain's phone hacking scandal came knocking on the door of Downing Street Thursday, as Cameron's former communications chief faced a grilling by a media ethics inquiry about his time as editor of a tabloid newspaper that practiced large-scale illegal eavesdropping. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Rebekah Brooks, Charlie Brooks

    FILE This Friday, May 11, 2012 file photo shows Rebekah Brooks, former chief executive of News International leaves the High Court in London after giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry. Brooks said Tuesday May 15, 2012 she and her husband will face charges over Britain's tabloid phone hacking scandal. Brooks, 43, said Tuesday in a statement that she will be prosecuted over allegations of obstruction of justice.(AP Photo/Sang Tan)

  • Tony Blair

    Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair leaves the High Court in London Monday, May 28, 2012 after he gave evidence to the Leveson media inquiry. Blair testified Monday that he never challenged the influential British press because doing so would have plunged his administration in a drawn-out and politically damaging fight. The Leveson inquiry is Britain's media ethics probe that was set up in the wake of the scandal over phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World, which was shut in July 2011,after it became clear that the tabloid had systematically broken the law. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Tony Blair

    In this image from video, Britain's former Prime Minister Tony Blair, left, watches as a protester is restrained by officials after he burst in through a secure corridor behind inquiry leader Lord Justice Brian Leveson, right, during the inquiry into media ethics in London Monday, May 28, 2012. The intruder shouted, "This man should be arrested for war crimes!" before being removed by security. Blair testified to the Leveson inquiry into media ethics Monday he never challenged the influential British press because doing so would have plunged his administration in a drawn-out and politically damaging fight. (AP Photo/Pool)

  • British police officers escort an man to a waiting police van after he heckled former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as he was giving evidence at the Leveson at the Royal Courts of Justice in central London, Monday, May 28, 2012. Blair testified Monday that he never challenged the influential British press because doing so would have plunged his administration in a drawn-out and politically damaging fight. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

  • Police officers handcuff a man who threw an egg at the vehicle of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair as he was being driven away after appearing at the Leveson inquiry at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, Monday, May 28, 2012. Blair testified Monday that he never challenged the influential British press because doing so would have plunged his administration in a drawn-out and politically damaging fight. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

  • Adam Smith, Frederic Michel And Lord Brooke Give Evidence To The Leveson Inquiry

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 25: Department for Culture, Media and Sport Permanent Secretary Jonathan Stephens leaves The Royal Courts of Justice after giving evidence to The Leveson Inquiry on May 25, 2012 in London, England. This phase of the inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the United Kingdom is looking at the relationship between the press and politicians. The inquiry, which may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper in 2011. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Tom Watson, Alan Johnson And Lord Smith Give Evidence At The Leveson Inquiry

    LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 22: Former Home Sectretary Alan Johnson leaves The Royal Courts of Justice after giving evidence to The Leveson Inquiry on May 22, 2012 in London, England. This phase of the inquiry into the culture, practice and ethics of the press in the United Kingdom is looking at the relationship between the press and politicians. The inquiry, which may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper in 2011. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Former Deputy PM Lord Prescott And Ex-Scotland Yard Officer Brian Paddick Appear Before The Leveson Inquiry

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Former police commander Brian Paddick leaves after giving evidence at the Leveson inquiry on February 27, 2012 in London, England. The inquiry, which will take evidence from interested parties and may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Former Deputy PM Lord Prescott And Ex-Scotland Yard Officer Brian Paddick Appear Before The Leveson Inquiry

    LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 27: Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott arrives to give evidence at the Leveson inquiry on February 27, 2012 in London, England. The inquiry, which will take evidence from interested parties and may take a year or more to complete, comes in the wake of the phone hacking scandal that saw the closure of The News of The World newspaper. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Jim (L) and Margaret Watson (R)

    Jim (L) and Margaret Watson (R) arrive at the Leveson inquiry at the the Royal Courts of Justice in London, on November 22, 2011. The phone hacking inquiry was set up by Prime Minister David Cameron in July amid public anger over the scandal when it emerged that the News of the World had accessed the voicemails of Milly Dowler, a murdered schoolgirl. AFP PHOTO / FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA (Photo credit should read FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Steve Coogan

    British television personality Steve Coogan (Top L) and Mary-Ellen Field (Below R) arrive at the Leveson inquiry at the the Royal Courts of Justice in London, on November 22, 2011. Mary Ellen-Field, a former aide to Australian supermodel Elle Macpherson, told an inquiry Tuesday she was fired after being falsely accused of leaking stories that were in fact obtained by British tabloid phone-hacking. AFP PHOTO / FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA (Photo credit should read FACUNDO ARRIZABALAGA/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Leveson Inquiry

    Britain's Home Secretary Theresa May arrives at the Leveson Inquiry into media standards at the High Court in London, Tuesday May 29 2012. The Leveson inquiry is Britain's media ethics probe that was set up in the wake of the scandal over phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News of the World newspaper, which was shut in July 2011, after it became clear that the tabloid had systematically broken the law. (AP Photo / Stefan Rousseau, PA) UNITED KINGDOM OUT - NO SALES - NO ARCHIVES

  • Fred Michel

    Fred Michel, a News Corporation lobbyist leaves after giving evidence to the Leveson inquiry, in central London, Thursday, May 24, 2012. A lobbyist for Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. says he had the impression that a government minister was aware of information being given by an aide about the company's bid to take over British Sky Broadcasting. Lobbyist Fred Michel told the Leveson Inquiry on Thursday that he knew he was not supposed to have direct discussions with Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, who was to decide whether the bid could proceed. (AP Photo)

  • Adam Smith

    Adam Smith, former special adviser to Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt arrives at the Leveson inquiry, in central London, Thursday, May 24, 2012. Smith, who resigned last month after saying he went too far over his e-mail contacts relating to News Corporation's bid to take over BSkyB, was due to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry into media standards. Hunt has rejected Labour party calls to quit over claims his relationship with Rupert Murdoch's company was too close. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

  • Alastair Campbell

    Former Director of Communications and Strategy for former Prime Minister Tony Blair, Alastair Campbell leaves after giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, at the Royal Courts of Justice, London, Monday May 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)