Fair hearing

If anyone thought the three people accused of misleading the Culture, Media and Sport Committee during their hacking inquiry would respond by saying "it's a fair cop, guv", they can think again.

The Commons has just voted overwhelmingly to refer the case to its ethics watchdog, the Standards and Privileges Committee. That will allow the accused to put their defence; and the former News International Chairman Les Hinton has already fired off a detailed rebuttal of the Culture Committee's findings in a letter to its chair, John Whittingdale; copied to the Speaker, the chair of the Liaison Committee, Alan Beith, and the chair of Standards and Privileges, Kevin Barron.

Mr Barron will preside over hearings to determine whether the committee was indeed misled.

Even now there are senior MPs who're worried that the procedure is not ideal; that MPs who have seen colleagues put under surveillance by News International may not be an ideal jury to decide whether or not one of their select committees was knowingly deceived.

And Mr Hinton's defence is that he did not mislead the committee.

Here are some of the choice extracts from Mr Hinton's letter:

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