Letters could provide more details on James Murdoch's involvement

 

Written evidence from James Murdoch and the solicitors Harbottle & Lewis about their role investigating the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World four years ago could be published as early as this weekend.

MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Committee are to use a scheduled meeting on Friday to consider whether to make public letters – due to be sent to them this week – "clarifying" evidence already given to MPs.

The letters are likely to provide a more detailed picture of exactly what information on the widespread use of phone hacking James Murdoch says he had when he signed off a payment of nearly £1m to Gordon Taylor, the professional footballers' representative, in 2009. The payment contained a gagging clause, preventing him from speaking about the hacking.

The new letters will also clarify the role of Harbottle & Lewis in the case. On Tuesday, Rupert Murdoch appeared to accuse the law firm of failing to fully examine emails which contained evidence of alleged criminality by senior staff at the News of the World. He said the firm had made a "major mistake".

Privately Harbottle & Lewis was said to be furious about the claim and demanded to be released from client confidentially so it could refute it.

On Wednesday News Corp agreed and authorised Harbottle to talk to the police and the select committee. Its evidence may be ready by Friday and if it is, it is likely to be released.

The Government will also publish this week details of all the meetings between cabinet ministers and senior representatives of News International.

These are expected to show that George Osborne, the Chancellor, flew to New York last December and had dinner with Rupert Murdoch, two weeks before Ofcom was due to rule on his bid to take over BSkyB. They will also show meetings between Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, and News International before he was given responsibility for the BSkyB deal.

The issue of News Corp's lobbying to get approval for its takeover of BSkyB was highlighted yesterday by Vince Cable, the Business Secretary, who told the BBC that the company had employed "heavy lobbying" to get the deal through. It is thought to have pressured Lib Dems and asked them directly to lobby Mr Cable not to refer the bid to the Competition Commission.

Asked if he believed News International was a fit and proper organisation to run BSkyB, Mr Cable said: "That is a big question to ask in light of what has happened. Fortunately it is not for politicians to come to a definitive judgement on that. It is for the regulator and the regulator is now looking at whether they are fit and proper persons to continue to have their share in ownership and they are the people who will come to a decision."

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital