Monday 19 February 2018

James Murdoch claim referred to police

Gavin Cordon

A claim that James Murdoch gave misleading evidence to a Commons committee is to be referred to Scotland Yard, a Labour MP said today

Tom Watson said he would be contacting Deputy Assistant Commissioner Sue Akers - who is leading the phone-hacking investigation - about the claim made by former News of the World editor Colin Myler and former legal manager Tom Crone.

In his evidence to the Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Tuesday Mr Murdoch said he had been unaware of an email suggesting phone hacking at the paper was not confined to one rogue reporter when he agreed an out of court settlement with the Professional Footballers Association chief executive Gordon Taylor.

However, in a statement issued last night, Mr Myler and Mr Crone said that his account was "mistaken" and that they had informed him about the email, which had been obtained by Mr Taylor's lawyers.

Mr Murdoch - News Corp's deputy chief operating officer - responded last night, saying that he stood by his evidence to the committee.

Mr Watson, a committee member and a leading critic of News International, said today that if Mr Myler and Mr Crone were correct, Mr Murdoch had "bought the silence" of Mr Taylor when he agreed to pay him a reported £700,000.

"It shows that he not only failed to report a crime to the police, but because there was a confidentiality clause involved in the settlement, it means that he bought the silence of Gordon Taylor and that could mean that he is facing investigation for perverting the course of justice," he said.

"So this morning I am going to refer the matter to Sue Akers, the head of Operation Weeting at the Metropolitan Police," he said.

The committee chairman John Whittingdale said last night that Mr Murdoch had already agreed to write to the committee on various points he had been unable to immediately address at the hearing.

He said: "I'm sure if the statement suggests there's conflict between what Colin Myler is saying and what he said, we will ask him to answer that as well."

Press Association

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