Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Murdoch to face second hacking quiz

James Murdoch will give further evidence to a Commons inquiry into phone-hacking on November 10
James Murdoch will give further evidence to a Commons inquiry into phone-hacking on November 10

News International executive chairman James Murdoch is to give evidence for a second time to a parliamentary investigation into phone-hacking on November 10.

The announcement came after Mr Murdoch's predecessor Les Hinton was grilled by video-link by the cross-party Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Mr Hinton, the most senior casualty of the hacking scandal so far, told MPs there was "no reason" why Mr Murdoch should resign from his post at News International (NI).

A close lieutenant of Rupert Murdoch who had worked with the News Corp chief for more than 50 years, Mr Hinton quit as CEO of the company's Dow Jones subsidiary in July as the scale of hacking which took place under his watch at NI-owned News of the World became apparent.

Mr Hinton acknowledged that some of the evidence previously given to the committee by NI executives, when they insisted that hacking at the Sunday tabloid was limited to a single rogue reporter, had turned out to be "not accurate".

But he challenged MPs' suggestions that this meant executives had been "untruthful", insisting that events had become clear only over the past couple of years and the full picture of what happened was still not known. And he told them: "I see no reason why James Murdoch should resign."

During the 70-minute evidence session, Mr Hinton repeatedly said he could not remember details of events in the phone-hacking scandal.

Committee member Tom Watson sarcastically congratulated him: "You're not doing badly, Mr Hinton. You have only said you can't remember seven times so far. In 2009 you used it 32 times."

Mr Hinton refused to discuss details of the severance package agreed with News Corporation when he quit in July, though he said he no longer had a company car, office space or any employment from the company.

He said he had not been interviewed by police or by Viet Dinh, the News Corp board member who is leading an internal investigation, about the hacking scandal.

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