So who was telling the truth? Leveson's unfinished business

view gallery VIEW GALLERY

As the inquiry draws to a close, Martin Hickman looks back at the contradictions that remain

Contradiction No 1: Rupert Murdoch vs John Major

Issue: Did Rupert Murdoch demand favours from politicians?

What Murdoch said: Asked whether he demanded special treatment from Margaret Thatcher's government during his purchase of The Times and The Sunday Times in 1981, Mr Murdoch said on 25 April: "I hope not. I've never asked a Prime Minister for anything."

What Major said: On 12 June, the former Prime Minister recalled a dinner in 1997: "… it became apparent in discussion that Mr Murdoch said that he really didn't like our European policies… and he wished me to change our European policies. If we couldn't change our European policies, his papers could not and would not support the Conservative government."

Other evidence: Tony Blair said he "didn't lobby me on media stuff", but admitted that was "not to say we weren't aware of the positions their companies had". Alastair Campbell, his communications director, recorded in his diaries that in one telephone call on 11 March 2003, before the Iraq invasion, Mr Murdoch "was pressing on timings, saying how News International would support us, etc".

Contradiction No 2: Piers Morgan vs Jeremy Paxman

Issue: Did Piers Morgan know about phone hacking?

What Piers Morgan said: On 20 December, the former Mirror editor said he was not aware of any phone hacking at the paper during his editorship (1995-2004). "I have no reason... to believe it was going on," he said. Asked: "Have you listened to recordings of what you knew to be illegally obtained voicemail messages?" he replied: "I do not believe so, no."

What Jeremy Paxman said: The BBC presenter said that at a lunch in 2002 Morgan had teased Ulrika Jonsson "that he knew what had happened in conversations between her and Sven-Goran Eriksson." He added: "He then explained that the way to get access to people's messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234, and that if you didn't put on your own code – his words – 'You're a fool'."

Other evidence: Writing in the Daily Mail in 2006, Morgan remembered being played a tape of a message Paul McCartney had left for Heather Mills on her mobile phone. James Hipwell, a Mirror reporter, later convicted of insider trading, said: "Hacking was considered a bog-standard journalistic tool for gathering information."

Contradiction No 3: David Cameron vs Andy Coulson

Issue: How many times did David Cameron seek assurances from Andy Coulson about his past?

What Cameron said: The Prime Minister said he asked the former News of the World editor for assurances about his past before he hired him at a meeting in his office in March 2007. Following reports in July 2009 of widespread phone hacking at the News of the World, "I asked Andy Coulson to repeat the assurances."

What Andy Coulson said: Asked whether Mr Cameron sought further assurances from him in 2009, Mr Coulson replied: "Not that I recall."

Other evidence: In July 2011, Mr Cameron said he had appointed Mr Coulson as his communications director "on the basis of assurances he gave me that he did not know about the phone-hacking and he was not involved in criminality".

Contradiction No 4: Murdoch vs Myler and Crone

Issue: Did James Murdoch know phone hacking was rife at News of the World?

What Tom Crone said: On 14 December, the News of the World's former lawyer insisted he had discussed with James Murdoch the "For Neville" email – which indicated phone hacking at the paper went beyond just the "rogue reporter" Clive Goodman. He even held up the email at a meeting with Mr Murdoch on 10 June 2008, he said, adding: "What was certainly discussed was the email."

What Colin Myler said: The NOTW's final editor who was in the same meeting in 2008, backed Mr Crone's account.

What James Murdoch said: Asked whether he saw the email, Mr Murdoch replied: "No." Robert Jay QC pressed: "So you don't have any recollection of Mr Crone at the very least showing you the first page of the email?"

"No, I don't have any recollection of that," he replied.

Other evidence: In all their public statements since last July, Mr Crone and Mr Myler have insisted that Mr Murdoch was aware of the "For Neville" email and its significance. It led to James Murdoch agreeing the biggest privacy settlement in UK legal history – £700,000 to the union leader Gordon Taylor. Mr Murdoch maintains he agreed the payment on the advice of Messrs Crone and Myler.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
David Silva strokes home his and City's second goal
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
The Tesco Hudl2: An exceptional Android tablet that's powerful, well-built and outstanding value

Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Life and Style
food + drinkAuthor DBC Pierre presents his guide to the morning after
Life and Style
food + drink
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas