James Murdoch, son of Rupert Murdoch and chairman of his British media company News International, is to be recalled by the House of Commons media and culture committee following claims that he misled it by denying knowledge of widespread phone hacking at the News of the World in his evidence in July.
The Murdoch-owned 160-year-old tabloid was shut down two months ago amid a growing scandal involving use of illegal news-gathering methods by its journalist.
During his last appearance along with his father, Mr. Murdoch insisted that he was never told about an email that showed that hacking at NoW went beyond one “rogue” correspondent, the paper’s royal editor Clive Goodman who was jailed in 2007 for hacking phones of members of the royal family. But his version has since been questioned by two former senior News International executives who claim that they told Mr. Murdoch about the email.
Last week, the company’s former legal manager Tom Crone and NoW's former editor Colin Myler told the committee that the email was discussed with Mr. Murdoch during a meeting at which he signed off a compensation payment to a high-profile figure whose phone had been hacked.
Mr. Crone claimed he was “certain” he told Mr. Murdoch about it. The email, he repeatedly said, was discussed and “it was the reason that we had to settle the case”.
Mr. Myler said that “everybody [Crone, Murdoch and I] understood the significance of what were discussing”.
Mr. Murdoch, however, said he stood by his testimony.
On Tuesday, the committee chairman John Whittingdale said that in view of these conflicting versions, it had been decided to recall Mr. Murdoch to answer more questions about how much he knew of the extent of hacking on NoW.
News International said that Mr. Murdoch would be “happy to appear in front of the committee again to answer any further questions members might have”.
The move came as the mother of a victim of the July 7, 2005 London bombings, whose phone was allegedly hacked by NoW decided to sue News International for damages. Several other people including high-profile celebrities and actor Jude Law were also reportedly planning action.