Media baron Rupert Murdoch arrived at Britain's press ethics inquiry on Wednesday primed to heap pressure on the government after revelations that left a minister fighting for his job.
His appearance came a day after dramatic evidence from Murdoch's son James showed that culture minister Jeremy Hunt's office leaked information to Murdoch's News Corp. about its bid for full control of pay-TV giant BSkyB.
As Murdoch headed for the Leveson Inquiry at London's Royal Courts of Justice accompanied by his Chinese-born wife Wendi, British headlines described the fast changing events as the "Revenge of the Murdochs".
Hunt, who is lead minister for the Olympic Games which open on July 27, faced calls to resign as he was charged with the decision on whether the takeover should be allowed to go ahead.
The bid was dropped in July 2011 amid a scandal over phone-hacking at Murdoch's News of the World, which led to the closure of the tabloid and sparked the creation of the Leveson Inquiry.
Speaking to reporters as he left his house early Wednesday, Hunt said he had behaved "scrupulously fairly" over the deal and had asked for his own appearance at the inquiry to be brought forward so he could clear his name.
"I am going to be making a very, very determined effort to show that I behaved with total integrity," he said.
A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron insisted Hunt had the government's support, but the premier was expected to face a grilling over the revelations at Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions session in parliament.
British media suggested Rupert Murdoch could use his appearance to further twist the knife into a government which he believes made him a scapegoat during the scandal that dominated last summer's headlines.
It will be his highest profile appearance in Britain since he testified before a parliamentary committee last year, and said that he had meetings with Cameron and former premiers Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.
Murdoch was also attacked with a foam pie at the hearing and Wendi leapt to his defence. He described it as the "most humble day of his life."
Giving evidence to the inquiry on Tuesday, James Murdoch, the deputy chief operating officer of US-based News Corp., said he had discussed the proposed takeover with Cameron at a 2010 Christmas party.
Cameron has previously denied having had any "inappropriate conversations" with James Murdoch at the party.
Transcripts of emails and text messages between Frederic Michel, News Corp's public affairs executive, and Adam Smith, special advisor to Hunt, appeared to reveal close collaboration over how to counter the deal's opponents.
In one text published on the inquiry's website, Michel wrote: "Think we are in a good place, no?", to which Smith replied: "Very yes. Jeremy (Hunt) happy."
As the string of texts and emails was aired, bookmakers stopped taking bets on whether Hunt would be forced to resign as demanded by Ed Miliband, leader of the opposition Labour Party.
"I myself have said all politicians, including Labour, became too close to the Murdochs but this is in a completely different league," Miliband said.
Britain's newspapers suggested the Murdoch family were exacting revenge on ministers after the government distanced itself from News Corp in the wake of the hacking scandal.
"Murdochs turn tables on Cameron and Hunt," said the Financial Times on its front page, while the Daily Mail carried the headline: "Revenge of the Murdochs" and the Indepdendent said "Murdoch's Revenge."
The Guardian, which uncovered much of the hacking scandal, denounced Hunt as "Minister for Murdoch".
In Tuesday's session, James Murdoch also repeated his assertion that he did not know about the extent of phone hacking at the 168-year-old News of the World.
The Sunday tabloid was forced to shut down after a wave of revelations that its staff illegally accessed the voicemail messages of a murdered teenage girl and the families of dead soldiers as well as dozens of celebrities.
The scandal reverberated across the British establishment, claiming the jobs of two senior policemen with ties to the News of the World, and Cameron's media advisor, a former editor of the tabloid.
Once considered the heir apparent to his father's empire, James Murdoch has now relinquished all his major media roles in Britain. He quit this month as BSkyB saying he did not want to become a "lightning rod" for the scandal.© ANP/AFP