Commons to probe hacking 'lies'
The Commons standards watchdog has been asked to examine claims that three former News International executives lied to MPs examining the phone-hacking scandal.
Ex-News of the World editor Colin Myler, the paper's former legal manager Tom Crone and one-time News International executive chairman Les Hinton were accused of misleading the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee during its investigation of the events.
The men have denied the allegations but the committee's chairman John Whittingdale said they were "very serious matters" which should be investigated by the Standards and Privileges Committee of MPs.
The Commons agreed without a vote to refer the phone-hacking report's conclusions to the Standards and Privileges Committee, which has the power to recommend sanctions against the trio and News International.
Although there is the possibility of the three men being summoned to the Commons for a public dressing-down, Labour MP Chris Bryant said the Standards and Privileges Committee should also consider fines or imprisonment as possible penalties.
Mr Whittingdale said the committee agreed unanimously that the three misled MPs and revealed "alarm bells began ringing" when it was claimed the hacking scandal was limited to one journalist - News of the World royal editor Clive Goodman, who was jailed in 2007 for conspiring to listen to voicemails.
He said documents handed to his committee showed the so-called "rogue reporter defence" was false.
Mr Whittingdale said: "The evidence we obtained made it very clear that the individual who had given evidence to us in our previous inquiry - where they had once again attempted to assure us that there was no real suggestion or evidence obtained that anybody else at the News of the World was involved in phone hacking other than Clive Goodman - was not true.
"They certainly did have documents which indicated very clearly that that was not the case. It was for that reason that the committee concluded that we have been misled by the three individuals."
He said it would be for the Standards and Privileges Committee to decide what punishment the trio should face, but called for the misleading of a parliamentary committee to "bear profound consequences".