James Murdoch recalled to face MPs' questions


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Indy Politics

James Murdoch is to be recalled for a fresh grilling before Parliament in an attempt to resolve conflicting evidence over his knowledge of the extent of phone hacking at the News of the World.

Mr Murdoch, the chief executive of News Corp in Europe and Asia, will be asked to help tie up "one or two loose ends" following his dramatic appearance alongside his father before the Commons media select committee in July. Rupert Murdoch, who apologised for the scandal surrounding voicemail interception, will not be recalled.

The decision to pose new questions follows evidence to the committee last week by two former senior executives at the NOTW that they were "certain" that James Murdoch had been told in detail in 2008 about an email which made it clear that hacking at the NOTW went beyond a single "rogue" reporter.

Colin Myler, the editor of the Sunday tabloid when it was shut this summer, and Tom Crone, the paper's former chief lawyer, insisted that Mr Murdoch was made fully aware during a 15-minute meeting of the significance of the "For Neville" email containing a transcript of voicemails left by and for footballers' union boss Gordon Taylor.

Mr Murdoch, who authorised a £700,000 out-of-court settlement with Mr Taylor, told MPs in July that he had no knowledge of the email, raising the question of whether the payout was an attempt to put a lid on the scandal and the News Corp executive misled Parliament when he denied having been told about the transcript.

John Whittingdale, the committee chairman, told Sky News: "Clearly, there are different accounts which we have heard. We have spent some time questioning Tom Crone and Colin Myler last week about their version of what happened. We would like to put that to James Murdoch and hear more about how he recalls the meetings."

News International said that Mr Murdoch, who has said he stands by his testimony, was "happy" to reappear before MPs for the hearing, which is expected to take place in November.

The committee will also hear evidence from Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch's closest aide until he stepped down as publisher of the Wall Street Journal, and Mark Lewis, the lawyer who acted for Mr Taylor.