James Murdoch is “likely” to be recalled before the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee as part of its inquiry into phone hacking at the News of the World, Labour MP Tom Watson said today.
Amid continued questions about the extent of Mr Murdoch’s knowledge of the hacking, the Sunday tabloid’s former editor, Colin Myler, and ex-legal manager, Tom Crone, are to be asked to appear in September.
After a meeting of the committee’s MPs this morning, Watson said: “We are trying to find out if Parliament was misled and all of us around the table were determined to do that.
“It starts with Colin Myler and Tom Crone, and it will be likely that we will take (James) Murdoch back.”
He added that further evidence would be published at 1pm today which would contain “devastating revelations” giving the company in general “questions to answer”.
Myler and Crone have contradicted Murdoch’s claim that he did not know about an email that indicated more than one reporter at the News of the World knew about hacking.
Committee chairman John Whittingdale said today: “There is the continuing difference in the accounts of James Murdoch and Tom Crone and Colin Myler about whether or not James Murdoch was aware of the so-called ‘for Neville’ email.”
Other questions that remained to be answered, Mr Whittingdale said, were about the settlement paid to hacking victim Gordon Taylor and “what influenced that”, the payment of private investigator Glenn Mulcaire’s legal fees and the size of the pay-off for Clive Goodman, the paper’s former royal editor who was convicted of hacking.
Whittingdale said: “What is plain is that we are receiving accounts that are completely different and contradict each other at various points.”
Jonathan Chapman, the former head of corporate and legal affairs at the News of the World’s parent company News International, is also to be called before the committee in September, Whittingdale said.
“When we have all that information, obviously, James Murdoch, as the most senior member of News Corp, is there to respond on behalf of the company and I suspect we will want to put those questions to him,” he said.
The documents being released by the committee include a letter by Goodman stating that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at the News of the World until the paper’s then editor, Andy Coulson, banned any further mention of the practice, according to The Guardian.
The letter was said to have been written by Goodman in March 2007 in support of a claim he was making for wrongful dismissal from the paper.
“This practice was widely discussed in the daily editorial conference, until explicit reference to it was banned by the editor.” he wrote.
In the letter, Goodman is also said to have stated that he was promised he could have his job back if he did not implicate anyone else on the paper.
“Tom Crone and the editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea,” he wrote.