James Murdoch to come back to Parliament


News Corp. Deputy COO James Murdoch will be called back to give evidence to the UK Parliament on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee following a vote on 9/12. Questions will focus on discrepancies between the News Corp. exec’s testimony in July and the evidence given last week by two former News International execs. The questions specifically will address whether he knew that phone hacking at the News of the World went wider than one “rogue reporter”.

Committee chairman John Whittingdale told Sky News that MPs were “beginning to reach the end” of their deliberations but wanted to tie up “loose ends” by recalling witnesses. He said the committee wanted to first hear from former senior News Corp. executive Les Hinton and lawyer Mark Lewis, who is representing victims.

The date of his appearance has not yet been finalized, but it looks like November. Murdoch still says he was not told about the existence of an email sent by a News of the World reporter marked “for Neville”, which is understood to have been a reference to Neville Thurlbeck, who was the paper’s chief reporter. That suggested phone hacking was not the work of a single reporter, as the company claimed until recently.

Colin Myler, the former editor of the paper, and Tom Crone, its head of legal, told members of parliament last week that they told Murdoch about the email and said that is why he approved an out-of-court settlement including costs to Gordon Taylor, the former chief executive of the PFA.

Murdoch told parliament in July that he did not know about the email and was not shown it or informed of its existence. In a statement last week he reiterated that was the case.

Meanwhile, a News Corp spokeswoman said they await details of the committee’s request, “however James Murdoch is happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have.”