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James Murdoch likely to be recalled by MPs over phone hacking

Evidence received by select committee contains ‘devastating revelations’ about phone hacking, says Labour MP Tom Watson

Evidence received by the Commons culture, media and sport committee contains “devastating revelations” about phone hacking at the News of the World, Labour MP Tom Watson said on Tuesday.

Watson, the Labour MP and committee member who has pursued the phone-hacking affair most vigorously, added: “There seems to be a question as to whether James Murdoch himself misled the committee.”

John Whittingdale, the Conservative MP who chairs the committee, said James Murdoch is likely to be recalled, possibly in October, to explain why the evidence he gave last month has been “contradicted by evidence which we’ve had from others”.

Whittingdale added: “James Murdoch is there to respond on behalf of the company and I suspect we will want to put all that to him.”

Murdoch, former News of the World editor Colin Myler and the paper’s former lawyer, Tom Crone, have all written to the committee answering questions about how much they knew about the extent of phone hacking at the paper.

James Murdoch, appearing before the select committee with his father Rupert, told MPs in July that he had not been told about the existence of an email which suggested hacking was not restricted to a single “rogue reporter” at the paper. Myler and Crone subsequently disputed that claim.

Whittingdale said Myler and Crone’s account about whether Murdoch was shown the so-called “for Neville” email differs from Murdoch’s, adding that they “can’t both be right”.

He said there were three areas the committee would be looking into further, starting with the “difference in the accounts of James Murdoch and Tom Crone about whether James Murdoch was aware of the ‘for Neville’ email”.

The committee will also ask further questions about the size of News International’s payoff to former News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman and whether Glenn Mulcaire, the private investigator who worked for the paper, is still having his legal fees paid by the company.

James Murdoch has responsibility for News of the World publisher News International as deputy chief operating officer of parent company News Corporation. Rupert Murdoch is News Corp’s chairman and chief executive.

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