Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs to Rebuke Murdoch Lieutenants over Hacking

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

MPs to Rebuke Murdoch Lieutenants over Hacking

Article excerpt

Byline: Joe Murphy Political Editor

THREE of Rupert Murdoch's former lieutenants are set to be rebuked by the House of Commons for misleading the phone-hacking inquiry, it emerged today.

However, parliamentary experts are advising against any attempt to use ancient powers to summon the trio -- former News International executive chairman Les Hinton, former News Group lawyer Tom Crone, and former News of the World editor Colin Myler -- to apologise to Parliament. They all deny the charge.

Soundings by the Standard reveal no appetite among senior MPs to censure Mr Murdoch himself further, following yesterday's explosive report by the Culture Select Committee that branded him "not a fit person" to run a major international company.

Tom Watson. the Labour MP who insisted that the 81-year-old tycoon be blamed, defended his stance. He said voters would have regarded it as a copout if the phone-hacking inquiry had failed to reach a hard-hitting conclusion about the man in charge.

"Had I not submitted that amendment, the report would have been silent on Rupert Murdoch's role," he told the Standard. "People would have felt we had ducked making a decision."

Mr Watson said Mr Crone, Mr Hinton and Mr Myler should apologise in person.

"It is now down to Parliament as a whole to decide how to deal with the people who misled us," he said. "I would hope they would publicly apologise for what they have done." Parliamentary authorities doubt that the power to drag individuals before the House to apologise could be enforced. It was last used in 1957 to force Fleet Street legend John Junor to say sorry for an article criticising MPs.

News Corporation last night condemned the committee's report as "unjustified and highly partisan".

In an email to News International staff, Mr Murdoch said: "I recognise that for all of us -- myself in particular -- it is difficult to read many of the findings. …

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