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Murdoch's son James faces probe recall

News Corp heir under fresh scrutiny over phone-hacking testimony

James Murdoch's status as heir apparent to his father's News Corp empire was in the hands of 11 MPs last night after two of his most senior executives suggested he was lying over his knowledge of phone hacking at the News of the World.

The newspaper's former editor Colin Myler and its legal manager Tom Crone yesterday contradicted evidence given by Mr Murdoch to Parliament that he had been unaware that voicemail interception at the paper had gone beyond one rogue reporter.

Mr Murdoch said afterwards that he stood by his version of events and that he had been "absolutely clear and consistent".

It will now fall to MPs on the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee to decide which version of events to believe. If their eventual report concludes Mr Murdoch misled them, it would almost certainly make his position as successor to his father untenable.

Sources on the committee suggested they were likely to recall Mr Murdoch when they meet next Tuesday to respond to the allegations made by Mr Myler and Mr Crone before writing their report.

Mr Myler and Mr Crone's evidence to MPs about a crucial 15-minute meeting with Mr Murdoch in 2008 will be central to the committee's deliberations.

Mr Crone told the committee that he had been passed details of an email which - for the first time - showed staff at the News of the World had been aware that the phone of the Professional Footballers' Association boss Gordon Taylor had been hacked.

Mr Crone yesterday told the committee he informed Mr Murdoch about the document at a meeting which was also attended by Mr Myler at which Mr Murdoch authorised him to reach a settlement with Mr Taylor.

Factfile

Among other revelations yesterday, it emerged that:

* Legal manager Tom Crone saw a dossier commissioned by a senior News International executive into the private lives of lawyers acting for the victims of phone hacking.

* Andy Coulson, ex-editor of the NoTW, tried to persuade bosses to re-employ disgraced royal editor Clive Goodman after his jailing.

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