Former prime minister Gordon Brown was not in a "balanced state of mind" when he called Rupert Murdoch to "declare war" on his company, the media tycoon has told the Leveson Inquiry.

Mr Murdoch said Mr Brown called him after the Sun switched its allegiance to the Conservative Party in September 2009.

The newspaper's former editor Kelvin MacKenzie previously said Mr Brown "roared" at the 81-year-old for 20 minutes and declared war on him.

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Mr Murdoch told the inquiry that Mr MacKenzie's account was a "colourful exaggeration", playing down the conversation, but went on to say that Mr Brown was not in a balanced state of mind.

"Mr Brown did call me and said, 'Rupert, do you know what's going on here?', and I said, 'What do you mean?'.

"He said, 'Well the Sun and what it's doing and how it came out'.

"And I said, 'I am not aware of ... I was not warned of the exact timing, I'm not aware of what they are saying, I am a long, long way away. But I am sorry to tell you Gordon, we have come to the conclusion that we will support a change of government when and if there is an election. Not if, but when there is an election'.

"And he said - and I must stress no voices were raised, we were talking more quietly than you and 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'.

"And I said, 'I'm sorry about that Gordon, thank you for calling', and end of subject."

Asked by counsel for the inquiry how Mr Brown might have "made war" on his company, Mr Murdoch said he did not know, but added: "I did not think he was in a very balanced state of mind."