Members of the British Parliament say they could call James Murdoch back to testify, amid allegations that he misled a committee in his testimony on the News Of The World phone hacking scandal.
On Friday the Culture, Media and Sport Committee voted down a bid to call Murdoch, News Corp’s deputy chief operating officer, back before the committee immediately, which was proposed after several former News Of The World employees, Tom Crone, Colin Myler and Jon Chapman, publicly claimed that Murdoch had misled Parliament during his testimony. The committee also voted against calling those three to testify at this time.
Since the Murdochs’ testimony on July 19, Crone, Myler and Chapman have disputed parts of James Murdoch’s testimony, particularly related to the period when he settled the phone hacking lawsuit of Gordon Taylor, the former head of the Professional Footballer’s Association. Murdoch claimed in his testimony that, at the time, he thought the phone hackings were limited to one News Of The World reporter, Clive Goodman. But Crone and Myler claim they had a piece of evidence linking the hackings to another reporter, Neville Thurlbeck, and that they showed it to Murdoch before the case was settled (read more here).
Chapman, the former director of legal affairs for News International, put out a more vague statement last week saying that he wanted to correct “serious inaccuracies” in James Murdoch’s testimony.
According to The Guardian, committee chairman John Whittingdale said the committee has written to all four to ask for more information. “Obviously we want to see the responses they send to the letters we are writing,” he said. “But Tom Crone and Colin Myler and apparently Jon Chapman have all said they dispute evidence given to this committee by James Murdoch. We want to hear exactly how they dispute that, in the first instance in terms of written responses.”
“If they do come up with statements which quite plainly are different to those given to us by James Murdoch we would want to hear James Murdoch’s response to that,” he continued. “Chances are that may well involve oral evidence again as well.”
Whittingdale said that the committee would meet again “probably in about two weeks’ time to determine what further actions to make.”
On Thursday, the board of British Sky Broadcasting unanimously voted to keep James Murdoch on as chairman, despite News Corp’s failed bid to acquire the remaining 61% of the network, which collapsed in the wake of the scandal.