THE former deputy prime minister John Anderson, the target of years of on-air tirades from the broadcaster Alan Jones, says he wants to make one thing clear: Jones never made sexual advances to him.

Mr Anderson, who as a minister admonished his colleagues, including the Prime Minister, John Howard, for kowtowing to Jones, broke his silence yesterday on his embittered relations with Jones.

Mr Anderson was reported yesterday to have told friends that Jones, who taught Mr Anderson at The King’s School, maintained a “sexually charged” regime over his pupils.

The former National Party leader at first told the Herald: “I don’t seek to make any public comment on it at all.”

However, he later said it would only be fair to set the record straight on an issue that has dominated the fallout from the unauthorised biography Jonestown, by Chris Masters, which talks at length about the broadcaster’s homosexuality.

“Probably because of the perception that some of his radio attacks on me were so personal and over the top, many people, including some of the country’s most senior journalists, seem to have assumed that Jones must have made some advances on me as a schoolboy, and I have been asked about that many times,” Mr Anderson told the Herald.“I have always immediately made it plain that was not true and it would not be fair for me to imply such things, because he did not [make advances].“I have always immediately made it plain that was not true and it would not be fair for me to imply such things, because he did not [make advances].”Our difficulties have related to adult life and his views - for example, that we could have droughtproofed Australia. We could not.”

Friends of Mr Anderson were reported yesterday to have said that, at King’s, Jones subjected Mr Anderson, then in his early teens, to a tirade of abuse for his failure to follow Jones’s directions at rugby practice.

But Mr Anderson indicated yesterday that he did not believe the falling-out in his schooldays was linked to the broadcaster’s subsequent attacks on his performance as minister.

As a senior government minister, Mr Anderson is believed to have argued on more than one occasion with his ministerial colleagues against pandering to the broadcaster’s demands.

Mr Howard had a firm relationship with Mr Anderson as deputy prime minister, but this did not prevent him expressing his strong support for Jones last week. Mr Howard said that he regarded Jones as a friend.

The way the broadcaster had been depicted in Jonestown and the innuendo in it was “quite unacceptable”, he said.