Rupert James Murdoch

Rupert and James Murdoch appears before the culture, media and sport select committee

Credit: PA

Follow our live blog of today's (19 July) Commons select committee appearances by News International chairman Rupert Murdoch and his son James, chairman of News International.

Here are some of the more significant points from this part of the committee hearing, based on evidence given by Rupert and James Murdoch.

- It has been confirmed that News Corporation did help pay for Glenn Mulcaire's legal fees.
James Murdoch told the committee he knew "certain legal fees were paid for" and that he was "surprised and shocked" to find that out.

- Rupert Murdoch insists the company was "not ever guilty" of wilful blindness, when asked directly by an MP on the committee.
When asked if he is responsible for "the whole fiasco", Murdoch senior says no. It is down to the people he trusted to run things, and "maybe the people they trusted", he says.

- Both Rupert and James say there are "no immediate plans" for a new Sunday tabloid, following the closure of the News of the World.
James says the matter has come up in the past week but added that "now is not the time to be worrying about that".

The full live blog can be found below:

5.31pm: The Murdochs' evidence is now over.

5.28pm: Rupert Murdoch is now reading out a pre-prepared statement which he intended to read at the beginning. You can read the full statement on at this link.

Conservative MP Louise Mensch resumes asking questions:

Mensch: "Have you considered suing Harbottle and Lewis, the legal firm that investigated phone hacking at the company?"

James says that legal claims are a matter for the future and he won't comment.

Mensch asks Rupert if he will consider resigning?

Rupert: "No."

Mensch: "Why not?"

Rupert says that he has been let down by people that he trusted.

5:15pm: The hearing has begun again.

Times columnist Caitlin Moran asks on Twitter: "I want to know what jacket allows a man to conceal a custard pie for nearly two hours".

Perhaps he baked it in the hearing.

5.13pm: BBC chief political correspondent Laura Kuenssberg has said that the assailant is called Jonathan May Bowles@jonniemarbles on Twitter.

5.06pm: Reports suggest that the assailant was a man called Johnny Marbles, who appeared to claim responsibility for the attack on Twitter shortly before it took place. Marbles appears to have been tweeting throughout the hearing from the room, and been critical of the Murdochs.

PoliticsHome editor Paul Waugh, who is at the hearing, has tweeted that he was "splattered" with a foam pie aimed at Rupert Murdoch. According to Waugh, Wendi Deng, Rupert's wife, threw the pie back at the thrower "like a tiger".


Someone attacked Rupert Murdoch. A young man in a checked shirt has reportedly been handcuffed and arrested by the police.

Conservative Damian Collins asks Rupert if public figures have a right to complete privacy.

Rupert says no, citing the MPs expenses investigation. He also adds, perhaps for the benefit of the committee, that MPs in Singapore are paid around £1 million and there is no corruption.

Alan Keen is questioning Rupert about nepotism in News Corporation. Rupert says that "plenty of people" applied for the position of BSkyB chairman, which was awarded to James, and were considered, and that James was the best candidate.

He says that the press had "a field day" when his son was appointed but that he was the right candidate.

: Labour's Alan Keen asks Rupert whether there are written rules that certain things have to be reported to the very top.

James answers, saying that there is a difference between being kept in the dark and a company where problems are delegated:

"To suggest my father or myself were kept in the dark is different to that, matters are delegated."

Rupert: "Anything that is seen as a crisis comes to me."

James: "From a financial point of view and from standpoint of things like alleged criminality, those are things the company's internal audit function are expected to be made aware of, as they were in the case of criminal prosecutions in 2007."

Keen asks who is responsible for the failure, and who are those that didn't inform more senior management about discoveries of criminality.

James: "To my knowledge certain things were not known, and when new information came to light the company acted on it in a right and proper way, as best the company could.

"I suddenly realised the pushback, or denial of veracity of allegations made in 2009, had been too strong and that’s a matter of real regret because all the facts were not known when that was done."

Labour's Paul Farrelly asks Rupert: "Given the picture that’s been painted of individuals on the news desk acting as gatekeepers for the private investigation, do you think it's possible at all that editors of your newspaper would not have known?

Rupert: "I can't say that because of the police inquiries and coming, I presume, judicial proceedings. That’s all I can tell you except it was my understanding that Mr Myler was appointed by Mr Hinton to find out what the hell was going on and that he commissioned the Harbottle and Lewis inquiry.

"That is my understanding of it. I cannot swear to the accuracy of it."

Farrelly continues to question James Murdoch.

Farrelly: "Tell us why John Chapman left the organisation?"

James: "John and the organisation decided in mutual interest to part ways – one of the pieces is for the company to move forward. Many of the individuals, if there’s no evidence of wrong doing, many individuals have chosen it is time to part ways."

Farrelly: "What is the employment status of Daniel Cloke?"

James: "He left some time ago."

Farrelly: "Proceedings by Mulcaire and Goodman on unfair dismissal never saw the light of day, as they were settled. Do you know what sort of allegations they were making?"

James: "Many of these individuals are subject to criminal investigation – it's improper for me to stray into or be led into it."

Farrelly: "The question is, have you satisfied yourself about what they were alleging?"

James: "As for Mulcaire, I'm not aware of allegations. As for Goodman, it’s my understanding that's what Harbottle and Lewis were helping with and that opinion did satisfy the company."

Farrelly: "In respect of files discovered this year, regarding Les Hinton, when did he first become aware of emails and 'paper'?"

James: "I can't speak to Mr Hinton's knowledge. I know Hinton was aware of work carried out."

Farrelly: "Rupert have you asked him if he knows about the documents?"

Rupert: "No"

Farrelly: "Why?"

James says his father has already answered that as chief executive he would not be expected to read thousands of emails.

Farrelly is asking about the file of emails/internal report which was allegedly discovered in the offices of law firm Harbottle and Lewis.

James Murdoch doesn't want to discuss what was inside but Farrelly asks what his reaction was when he looked at it. James says his reaction was to agree with the recommendation of executives that the company should bring this to the attention of police.

James: "The report was a clear opinion about a review, which was done in conjunction with police, saying there was no new evidence and the PCC saying they had done their review and there was nothing new there. It was viewed as a settled manner."

: MP Paul Farrelly asks James: "Have you paid Glenn Mulcaire's legal fees?"

James Murdoch: "I don't know the details of civil actions – I do know certain legal fees were paid for Mulcaire by the company and I was surprised and shocked to learn that.

"I asked for those things – for a company to find a way for the company to cease those things. I will update the committee on this."

Rupert adds that, provided it is not in breach of a legal contract, that it would be ceased.

Davies asks Rupert why Les Hinton resigned.

Rupert: Les Hinton resigned sadly last Friday following Rebekah Brooks. He says he was in charge of the company during the period we are under criticism for and felt that he must step down.

Davies: "Were either Les Hinton or Rebekah Brooks asked to resign?"

Rupert: "No, they both asked to leave."

Davies: "Why did you not accept Brooks' resignation when she offered the first time?"

Rupert says that he did not accept the resignation because he "believed and trusted" her.

Davies asks him "how much all these characters were paid off".

Rupert says that he cannot say, but in the case of Hinton it will be "considerable" because it will involve 52 years' worth of pension payments.

Rupert denies there are any confidentiality clauses in their leaving agreements.

James says there are normal commercial confidentiality agreements, but "nothing that would prevent their co-operation with an investigation".

Davies asks whether the News of the World (NotW) was "sacrificed to protect Rebekah Brooks".

Rupert claims the decision to close the NotW was "totally unrelated" to Brooks' position.

James Murdoch: "This was a paper that had fundamentally violated the trust of its readers. Under the circumstances, and with respect to the bad things that happened some years ago, it was really the right choice for the paper to cease publication. 

"The company is doing everything it can so journalists and staff at NotW who are completely blameless, and the many that have done tremendous work, can find re-employment. I think the company is being as generous as it can under the circumstances.

Davies asks about the payment of legal fees for Clive Goodman. “Why would News International even dream about paying his legal fees?” he asks.

James Murdoch says he does not have any direct knowledge of specific legal arrangements with Goodman in 2007.

"What I can say, because I've asked the question more recently in terms of who the company pays legal fees for etc., I think I can tell you that in asking the question I've been surprised that it is customary here to sometimes make contributions of co-defendants or defendants in related matters.

"If you have specific questions we can follow up with you on that."

James says payments were made on legal advice. He says he was as surprised as the committee that some of the payments had been made.

3.46pm: Conservative MP Philip Davies asks Rupert "surely you would expect the editor of NotW to drop payments [eg to Gordon Taylor] into conversation?”

Rupert Murdoch says no, not necessarily.

3:45pm: Rupert is asked how often he would speak to the editor of the News of the World.

Rupert Murdoch says he sometimes would ring on a Saturday night to keep up with the news.

"I'm not really in touch, but I spent most of my time with the editor of the Wall Street Journal as I'm in the same building, but to say we're hands off is wrong. I work a 10-12 hour day and I cannot tell you the multitude of issues I have to deal with.

"News of the World perhaps I lost sight of, maybe because it was small in the general frame of our company."

3:44pm: James Murdoch when asked about what advice they had taken on how to act in this meeting says they did take advice on it, and were told to come and be truthful and transparent.

3:42pm: James Murdoch is asked if he is aware of the term "wilful blindness"? That is, you should have had knowledge so you are still responsible.

James Murdoch says he is not aware of that particular phrase.

Rupert Murdoch chips in to say he has heard it and insists, "we were not ever guilty of that".

3.39pm: MP Adrian Sanders asks what facts James Murdoch has now that he didn't when payments for settlements were approved.

James Murdoch says the new key evidence indicated wider involvement and the company acted on that immediately.

3.35pm: James Murdoch talks about how he would have acted if he "knew then what I know now". He said "we would immediately look at what we could find with an internal investigation and immediately contact the police about information that may be of great interest to them".

“If I knew then what I know now, we would have taken more action and moved faster to get to the bottom of the allegations.”

3:32pm: Committee chairman, Conservative MP John Whittingdale, asks the Murdochs if it is their intention to launch a new Sunday tabloid newspaper. James begins to answer "no" but is interrupted by Rupert, who says there is "no decision on that".

James adds there are no immediate plans. He says it has come up in the past week but added that "now is not the time to be worrying about that".

3.27pm: Conservative Dr Thérèse Coffey asks Rupert Murdoch: "Will this make you think again about your headlines in the future?"

After a pause Rupert Murdoch says it certainly will. In the UK, he says, there is a wonderful range of voices but says occasionally headlines may give offence but it is not intentional.

3:23pm: Coffey asks if James Murdoch knows how much has been paid out in legal settlements. James Murdoch says he does not know the total number but say it is customary to try to reach out-of-court settlements in many cases.

Rupert Murdoch points out News Corporation has a strong audit committee to review all these things.

Coffey asks how it is possible to make payments to people if they don't invoice you and are not employees?"

James Murdoch says he doesn’t know the exact arrangements, but said in some cases it is appropriate for journalists or managers to have the ability to use cash, but is customary for them to record those.

3:17pm: Coffey asks who closed down the News of the World.

Rupert Murdoch: "It was the result of discussions between my son and I, executives, Brooks etc. It went to the whole board to seek their agreement."

He denies it was a commercial decision.

She then asks about the settlement payment to Graham Taylor, related to voicemail interception allegations.

James Murdoch says the company knew it would lose that case at great cost as the underlying fact was not in dispute.

"I had no reason at the time to believe the issue was anything but a settled matter and was in the past, following the successful prosecution of the two discussed."

Rupert Murdoch adds that James Murdoch had only been with the company for a few weeks. James Murdoch says it was actually a few months.

3:15pm: Rupert Murdoch goes on to say he is not aware of any News Corporation company being investigated by the serious fraud office, the Financial Services Authority or HM Revenue and Customs.

3.13pm: James Murdoch: "What happened at the News of the World was wrong. We, and I, have apologised profusely. This is a very, very serious matter and we're trying to establish the facts. We're working closely with the police."

Labour's Jim Sheridan asks Rupert Murdoch if he is "responsible for whole fiasco?"

Rupert Murdoch says he is not, but says the people he trusted and "maybe the people they trusted", were.

3:11pm: Sheridan asks who Rupert Murdoch blames for the BSkyB transaction.

Rupert Murdoch: "A lot of people had different agendas I think, all our competitors in this country formally announced a consortium to try and stop us, and they caught us with dirty hands and built hysteria around it.

"I think a mood developed which made it really impractical to go ahead."

3:09pm: Sheridan asks about 9/11 victims: "Have you commissioned investigations into these allegations?"

Rupert Murdoch says he has seen no evidence and as far as he knows neither has the FBI, but he will commission an investigation if it is true. 

"I can’t believe it happened from anyone in America. Whether it was News of the World, I don’t know."

3:07pm: Jim Sheridan: "Have you ever imposed conditions on a party before giving support?"

Rupert Murdoch says the company never guarantees support from any of his newspapers. He said it had been supporting the Conservative Party but felt "it had got tired".

3:06pm: Rupert Murdoch: "When a company closes down it is natural for people to lose their jobs. Every effort has been made to see those staff were re-employed, unless they were part of the small group involved in criminality."

Labour MP Tom Watson asks if the News of the World was closed because of the allegations of criminality.

Murdoch says the company felt ashamed at what had happened and "thought we should bring it to a close".

Watson asks if there were other forms of illicit surveillance?

"No," Rupert Murdoch says, "I think all papers use private investigators from time to time, but not illegally."

Watson asks what he would do if he was shown evidence and Rupert Murdoch states: "We would certainly work with police, if they wanted us to investigate it we would."

3:04pm: Watson asks why no one was fired in April, when News International admitted the News of the World had been involved in phone hacking?

Rupert Murdoch: "It was not our job to get involved in justice, it is up to the police, which we were 100 per cent co-operative with.

James Murdoch wants to clarify that individuals that were potentially implicated had already left the building and were not in the News of the World at this time. Many of those remaining were not at the newspaper in 2007.

3:02pm: Tom Watson: "When were you aware of endemic criminality?

Rupert Murdoch: "Endemic is very wide-ranging word and we also have to be extremely careful not to prejudice the course of justice taking place now.

"I became aware as it became apparent of first two, and then I was absolutely shocked, appalled and ashamed when I heard of the Milly Dowler case only two weeks ago."

Tom Watson: "You knew the one rogue reporter line was false in January this year, is that correct?"

Rupert Murdoch: "I forget the date."

Tom Watson:  "Why was Edmondson the only person to leave in January?"

Rupert Murdoch: "Mr Watson we have given all our files and all our knowledge to police. They have not given us the Mulcaire diaries so we do not know what is in that."

3pm: Tom Watson: "When were you informed about payments to Gordon Taylor and Max Clifford?"

Rupert Murdoch: "I was not informed. Please understand the settlement of civil claim of that nature is something that normally, in a company our size, the executives in the country would be authorised to make. That’s the way the company is functioned."

2:57pm: Tom Watson is pursuing a series of questions to Rupert Murdoch.

"Are you aware Brooks confirmed to committee payments to police?" he asks.

Rupert Murdoch: I'm aware now, not at the time. I am aware now she has amended it."

Tom Watson: "Did you investigate at the time?"

Rupert Murdoch: "No."

Tom Watson: "Why?"

Rupert Murdoch: "I didn't know of it". He adds, not by way of excuse but explanation, that News of the World is less than one per cent of the company. "We are proud and ethical people," he adds.

Tom Watson: "I accept that, but you are ultimately responsible for the corporate governance of News Corporation. Who knew – if I can take you forward to 2006 – when Goodman was arrested and convicted, were you made aware?

Rupert Murdoch: "I think so, I was certainly made aware of the conviction."

Tom Watson: "What did News Corporation do to get to the facts?"

Rupert Murdoch: "We worked with the police and appointed a very leading firm of lawyers to investigate further."

Tom Watson: "What did you personally do?"

Rupert Murdoch: "I spoke to Mr Hinton who told me about it."

Tom Watson: "In 2008, why did you not dismiss News of the World chief reporter Neville Thurlbeck following the Mosley case?"

Rupert Murdoch: "I'd never heard of him."

Watson asked if Murdoch was aware of allegations Thurlbeck set out to blackmail the women involved.

Rupert Murdoch: "That's the first I heard of that. Perhaps my son can answer that in more detail."

Tom Watson: "Nobody in the UK company brought this fact to your attention?"

Rupert Murdoch: "The blackmail charge? No."

Tom Watson: "Is that because you'd think nothing of it?"

Rupert Murdoch: "No. I can't answer. I don't know."

2:55pm: Tom Watson addresses Rupert Murdoch: "You have repeatedly stated you have a zero tolerance to wrongdoing."

Rupert Murdoch: "Yes."

Tom Watson: "Did you still believe this to be true in 2010?"

Rupert Murdoch: "Yes."

Tom Watson: "Who lied to you?"

Rupert Murdoch: "I don't know. That is what the police are investigating."

2:53pm: James Murdoch is asked if the departure of Tom Crone, Brooks and Hinton is related to what they know about phone hacking.

James Murdoch: "There is no evidence that I'm aware of that Brooks, Hinton or any of those executives had knowledge of that and their assertions to me, especially Brooks, has been clear. Nonetheless those resignations have been accepted."

2:52pm: James Murdoch feels the very fact the provision of information to police in the first place then led to the reopening of a new investigation, he hopes can be testament to some proactive action in respect of "getting to the right place" in terms of getting to the facts of what happened.

2:50pm: Committee chairman Conservative MP John Whittingdale asks: "Who other than Clive Goodman was involved?"

James Murdoch: "As you made it clear earlier there have been a number of arrests and these are matters for current criminal investigations". He says, therefore, it is difficult for him to comment.

Whittingdale: "Have you carried out your own investigation?"

James Murdoch says the company has established a group within the organisation co-operating with police in their investigation.

2.45pm: James Murdoch: "I can tell you the critical new facts really emerged on the production of documented information during the civil trials in 2010. The duration from 2007 to end of 2010, and length of time it took for that to come clear, is a matter of deep frustration, and a matter of real regret that the facts could not emerge and be gotten to faster.

2.42pm Whittingdale: "When this committee took evidence we heard from Tom Corne, Colin Myler, Andy Coulson etc. All of them told us there had been a thorough investigation and no evidence found, no one else was involved. Clearly not – were any of them lying?"

James Murdoch: "The company relied on three things, the police investigation in 2007, (before I was involved) which was closed and repeated assertions there was no need to reopen; the Press Complaints Commission and legal opinion of outside counsel brought in, whom, with respect to their review, had issued a clear opinion there was no additional illegality.

"The company relied on those facts. In 2008 and 2009 it was not clear there was a reason to believe those matters were other than settled matters."

2:35pm: Whittingdale asks James Murdoch: "In a statement, you said the paper had made statements to parliament without being in full possession of facts and that was wrong. You then admitted parliament had been misled. To what extent were we?"

James Murdoch: "I want to say how sorry I am and we are, particularly to the victims of phone hacking and their families. It is a matter of great regret of mine, my father's and everyone at News International.

"It is our determination to put things right, make sure they don't happen again and be the company I know we've always aspired to be."

"The statement was referring to the emergence of new facts largely that came about at the end of 2010, as the due process of a number of civil trials reached a point where document and evidence disclosure made it apparent that, indeed, there was reason to believe that potentially more people had been involved in phone hacking from before.

"Subsequent to our discovery of that information – in the Sienna Miller trial – the company immediately went to look at additional records around individuals involved and alerted police who restarted, on that basis, the investigation that is now underway. Since then the company has admitted liability to victims, has apologised unreservedly and the company also set up a compensation scheme to deal with legitimate claims. Those are the actions taken as soon as new evidence emerged."

2:33pm: Whittingdale: We are very conscious there is an ongoing police investigation and possible criminal proceedings to follow and don't wish to jeopardise that.

But encouraged by statements from all witnesses that they wish to co-operate.

2:30pm: People holding banners were asked to leave the committee room.

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