Major served from 1990 until 1997 and claimed at the time he wanted Britain to remain "at the very heart of Europe".
The former prime minister said that Murdoch asked him to change his policy on Europe during a dinner the pair had before the 1997 election, warning that his newspapers would not support him if he failed to do so.
“Murdoch said he didn’t like our European policies and he wished me to change our European Union policies, and said if we didn’t his papers would not and could not support the Conservative government,” Major told the inquiry, led by senior judge Lord Leveson.
Major said the intervention came as “no surprise to me”, although it contradicts earlier claims by Murdoch when he appeared in May before the Leveson Inquiry that he “never asked a prime minister for anything”.
Major said he made it "pretty clear" to Murdoch that he would not change his policies, and the conversation on Europe ended, though he added: “My feeling, although he [Murdoch] did not say it, was he was edging towards a referendum on leaving the EU.”
Major and his Conservative party lost the election to Labour's Tony Blair. The defeat came after Murdoch's tabloid The Sun switched support from the Conservatives to Labour, though Major acknowledged to the inquiry he would have lost the election anyway.
The Leveson Inquiry, which has dominated British domestic political debate in recent months, was called by Prime Minister David Cameron in response to public disquiet in the wake of the newspaper hacking scandal.
The scandal led to the closure last year of Murdoch’s Sunday tabloid the News of the World.