Murdoch mocks UK government as arrives for ethics inquiry

Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:24pm EDT
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By Peter Griffiths

LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch on Saturday mocked the UK government's "mad" plans to lend more money to the International Monetary Fund and criticized its energy, education and tax policies after arriving in London ahead of his appearance at a media inquiry next week.

The 81-year-old News Corp (NWSA.O: Quote) boss will appear before a senior judge in London's High Court on Wednesday and Thursday as part of an inquiry ordered by Prime Minister David Cameron to investigate standards in the British press.

Famous for his at times controversial outbursts, Murdoch wasted little time in criticizing Cameron's coalition government in a series of messages sent via the Twitter website on Saturday.

His first target was Britain's pledge of nearly 10 billion pounds to help the IMF tackle any fallout from the euro zone crisis, as well as a new tax on hot takeaway snacks put forward by finance minister George Osborne.

"Back in Britain," Murdoch said in one message. "Govt sending IMF another ten bn to the euro. Must be mad. Not even U.S. or China chipping in. Same time taxing hot food."

The government has been criticized for its proposed "pasty tax", a new levy that means freshly baked hot food sold in any shop will for the first time incur the VAT sales tax.

There was no sign of Murdoch at his London flat, however. A News Corp spokeswoman had no comment on his arrival or messages.

In another comment, Murdoch waded into the political debate over whether the British government should support the building of wind turbines to generate greener energy.   Continued...