After three people came forward to dispute parts of James Murdoch’s testimony before Parliament, the chair of the Committee who held the hearings said Tuesday that he’d be very interested to hear more from them, and “if they have doubts about any testimony they should get in touch with us immediately.”
Last week, a former editor and the former legal manager for News Of The World
put out a statement saying that James Murdoch misled Parliament when he testified that he didn’t know about other reporters who were hacking phones when he settled a lawsuit by the former head of Professional Footballers’ Association, Gordon Taylor. Murdoch said he believed the hackings were solely the work of reporter Clive Goodman, and didn’t know about a piece of evidence that linked the Taylor hackings to former NOTW reporter Neville Thurlbeck.
Colin Myler, former editor of News of the World, and Tom Crone, former legal manager of News of the World said they had informed Murdoch of the link before the settlement. If true, this would call into question the Murdochs’ claims that they were not aware of the extent of the scandal until very recently.
Jon Chapman, the former director of legal affairs for News International, also put out a statement last week saying that he wanted to correct “serious inaccuracies” in James Murdoch’s testimony.
John Whittingdale, who chairs the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, told the Evening Standard: “”If Mr Chapman has information which he believes calls into question the evidence provided by James Murdoch then we would be very keen to speak to him.”
“It is somewhat frustrating to keep hearing media reports about people wishing to correct evidence,” he said. “If they have doubts about any testimony they should get in touch with us immediately.”
It’s not all bad for the Murdochs, though.
On Tuesday The Guardian reported that despite the scandal, James Murdoch could still receive a multi-million dollar bonus on top of his $3 million salary, depending on the company’s performance.
Then there’s the issue of British Sky Broadcasting, Britain’s biggest satellite network, which James Murdoch chairs. The board of BSkyB is scheduled to meet Thursday for the first time since the scandal broke, and there have been questions about how the board will react to Murdoch’s role in the scandal. But The Guardian reports that he will likely keep his position as chairman of the company after reportedly securing the support of Nicholas Ferguson, Sky’s deputy chairman, who is the go-between the shareholders and the chairman.
Meanwhile, on Tuesday the chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, drew fire after revelations that he met with people who worked for News Of The World and News International a number of times, even after the second police investigation into the tabloid had begun.
From the New York Times:
According to the Exchequer’s listing, which did not include interviews with journalists, Mr. Osborne met 10 times with the two Murdochs and their former lieutenant, Rebekah Brooks. These were among 16 meetings or social occasions Mr. Osborne attended at which News International executives were present — representing a third of all meetings he had with senior figures from all of Britain’s media organizations.
Osborne is believed to have pushed David Cameron to hire former NOTW editor Andy Coulson, who was later arrested in connection with the scandal, as the Prime Minister’s chief of communications.
David Cameron recently disclosed that he had 26 meetings and social events with the Murdochs and staff since he took office in May 2010. Labour leader Ed Miliband had 15 meetings since then.