MacKenzie defends time as Sun chief
Kelvin MacKenzie has defended his "bullish" approach to editing The Sun as he acknowledged that the paper has now become "more cautious".
He told the Leveson Inquiry he did not spend much time worrying about journalistic ethics or which stories would sell more copies, leaving it to his readers to decide whether his decisions were right.
Mr MacKenzie, who edited The Sun from 1981 to 1994, also insisted that Rupert Murdoch never put him under commercial pressure and in fact often felt that he went too far.
"I didn't spend too much time pondering the ethics of how a story was gained nor over-worry about whether to publish or not," he said in a witness statement. "If we believed the story to be true and we felt Sun readers should know the facts, we published it and we left it to them to decide if we had done the right thing.
"They could decide we were correct and carry on purchasing us - in my time in ever-increasing numbers - or could decide we were wrong, in which they could decline to buy us again, ie Hillsborough."
This was a reference to The Sun's sharp circulation decline on Merseyside over its controversial coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool football fans died.
Mr Murdoch was furious when he found out The Sun was to pay £1 million in damages to Elton John after a story falsely claimed the singer had hired rent boys, the inquiry heard.
Mr MacKenzie recalled sending the media mogul a fax about the case then receiving a 40-minute phone call of "non-stop abuse". He told the hearing: "Let's put it this way, he wasn't pleased."
He stood by comments he made in a Leveson Inquiry seminar in October, when he said: "My view was that if it sounded right it was probably right and therefore we should lob it in."
Mr MacKenzie has previously described the Leveson Inquiry as "ludicrous" and suggested it is only being held because of Prime Minister David Cameron's "obsessive a***-kissing" of Rupert Murdoch.