MPs divided over calling on Brooks to clarify Clifford payout evidence

Showdown imminent over whether MPs need to hear new testimony from former NI boss

A meeting between members of the parliamentary inquiry
investigating phone hacking at Rupert Murdoch's News International
will take place this week amid mounting tensions over its future
direction.

Members of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee hold conflicting views of the scandal, with some MPs seeking fresh evidence from at least one senior Wapping figure – the News International former chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

A first draft of the MPs' long-awaited report was produced before Christmas. There will be calls tomorrow for Ms Brooks to be asked to explain her role in authorising a £1m payment to the publicist Max Clifford in 2010 for having his phone messages intercepted.

The money was paid at a time when the company was still insisting hacking was limited to a single royal reporter.

While it is unlikely that Ms Brooks, who is currently the subject of a police investigation into the affair, will be recalled as a witness, MPs are expected to seek written clarification of what she knew about the payment.

She gave evidence to the committee in July immediately after Rupert and James Murdoch.

Operation Weeting detectives investigating phone hacking arrested Ms Brooks's former assistant at her home in Essex last week.

Allegations of phone hacking will again be centre stage today when the editor of The Sun, Dominic Mohan, and one of his most famous predecessors at the tabloid, Kelvin MacKenzie, who has since defected to the Daily Mail, give evidence to Lord Leveson's inquiry into press standards.

Two of the senior figures from the committee, Labour's Tom Watson and the Conservative MP Louise Mensch, have denied they are clashing in a so-called "Beauty versus the Beast" row over how much blame should be apportioned to James Murdoch in the final report. In his second appearance before MPs in November, Mr Watson compared the News International chairman to a "Mafia boss" while Mrs Mensch has praised the consistency of Mr Murdoch's evidence.

Mr Watson said he would be reviewing the written and oral evidence today before deciding whether to press for more witnesses to be called.

While there is a growing consensus among the committee to move towards a conclusion, Mr Watson said there was a "distinct possibility" of fresh hearings.

This is despite the suggestion by the Conservative chairman of the committee, John Whittingdale, who has previously indicated that enough testimony had been heard.

Among the other key issues likely to dominate MPs' discussions tomorrow are the credibility of Mr Murdoch and the former News of the World executives the former editor Colin Myler and legal manager Tom Crone, who dispute his testimony about how much he knew before he sanctioned a £700,000 payout to the phone-hacking victim Gordon Taylor. New emails emerged last month which appeared to question James Murdoch's assertion that he received little briefing from News of the World executives prior to authorising the settlement to Mr Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association. News International said the emails were consistent with Mr Murdoch's testimony.

The Labour MP Paul Farrelly, who sits on the committee, said it was important that the final report was not hurried: "The first draft of the report appeared just before Christmas and it will need lengthy discussion. This is in order to get it right, and make sure it stands the test of time, given that the police and judicial inquiries are likely to unearth further evidence."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower