Why the Taylor settlement is still making headlines

Analysis

Of all the ironies in the phone-hacking scandal, the deepest involves the Gordon Taylor settlement. Phone hacking produced some of the News of the World's sensational front pages and the likely downfall of many of its journalists.

But the story which could lead to the downfall of executives working for its owner News International is one that never appeared.

In July 2008, NI agreed to pay Mr Taylor, chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association, an extraordinarily large sum of money for a breach of his privacy and his silence: reportedly £425,000 damages and £220,000 costs.

For a civil privacy case, this was off the scale and, because it was so large, its disclosure two years ago posed the question whether News International was prepared to agree to it because Mr Taylor's case proved that hacking went beyond its jailed royal editor Clive Goodman. The paper's chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck, not Mr Goodman, had called on Mr Taylor inquiring whether he was having an extra-marital affair with his legal adviser Jo Armstrong. He was not.

The mistake arose because Ms Armstrong had left Mr Taylor a message thanking him for the previous day. The sleazy NOTW hacks thought that Ms Armstrong was thanking him for bedding her; she was actually thanking him for speaking at her father's funeral.

It was an expensive mistake – and one on which the future of the Murdoch dynasty could hang.

This is because during questioning at the DCMS Committee in 2009, the Labour MP Tom Watson extracted the nugget that James Murdoch had authorised the Taylor settlement.

This week, Mr Murdoch told the committee that he had approved it because the costs of taking the case to court would be so high. Crucially – again under questioning from Mr Watson – he said he had not been aware of the "for Neville" transcripts at the time. The "For Neville" transcripts contained records of Mr Taylor's phone messages and might have been taken to have been intended for Mr Thurlbeck. (Amusingly, the police claimed to be mystified who "Neville" might be).

This week the affair took a new twist. Colin Myler, the NOTW's editor, and Tom Crone, its lawyer, said that Mr Murdoch was aware of the transcripts. If they are right, Mr Murdoch misled Parliament and, according to Mr Watson, may have been involved in conspiracy to pervert the course of justice by making a hush payment rather than reporting evidence of criminality to the police.

Mr Murdoch, who says he is sticking by his evidence, has been asked to explain himself to the DCMS Committee.

He and Messrs Myler and Crone cannot both be right. So many words, so much trouble, for a non-story.

Sport
Lionel Messi pictured after reaching the final
world cup 2014
Sport
Lionel Messi and Thomas Muller have shone brightest for Argentina and Germany respectively on their way to the World Cup final
Sport
Brazilian fans watch the match for third place between Brazil and Netherlands
Brazil 0 Netherlands 3: Dutch pile on the misery in third place playoff
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
News
Ian Thorpe had Rio 2016 in his sights
people
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Voices
Mrs Brown's Boy: D'Movie has been a huge commercial success
voicesWhen it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?