UK Politics

Who said what - Murdoch evidence on For Neville email

Much of the questioning of James Murdoch revolved around whether he was aware of the so-called For Neville email.

That email was sent by a junior News of the World reporter to private investigator Glenn Mulcaire in 2008, and it contained the illegally obtained transcripts of voicemails belonging to football union boss Gordon Taylor.

The Neville mentioned in the subject is assumed to be Neville Thurlbeck, the News of the World's then chief reporter, although he denies any involvement in hacking.

The committee has focused on the email as proof that phone hacking at the News of the World was not restricted to one "rogue reporter" - jailed royal editor Clive Goodman - as the paper has continued to insist at the time.

At issue is a) whether Mr Murdoch was told about the email by NoW lawyer Tom Crone and former editor Colin Myler at a meeting the three of them held and b) whether he knew of its wider significance beyond the Gordon Taylor case.

Here is a selection of the evidence that the Culture, Media and Sport Committee has heard concerning that email.

James Murdoch, 19 July 2011

Tom Watson MP: "When you signed off the Taylor payment, did you see or were you made aware of the For Neville email, the transcript of the hacked voicemail messages?"

James Murdoch: "No, I was not aware of that at the time."

Tom Crone, 6 September 2011

Tom Crone: "I thought you were asking me whether, during the Mr Murdoch meeting, it was made known to him that the wrongdoing went beyond Clive Goodman."

Damian Collins MP: "Was it?"

Tom Crone: "He was made aware of that - well he was made aware, as I have said, of the document."

Damian Collins: "OK. So your view is that you did tell him. Your view is that, on his part, there should have been no ambiguity as to whether this evidence - the settlement in the Taylor case - meant that wrongdoing extended beyond Clive Goodman.

Tom Crone: "I cannot tell you whether, on his part, there was ambiguity. I can only tell you that I explained that this document meant there was wider News of the World involvement."

Later in the same session...

Louise Mensch MP: "It [the email] implicated the paper, but in terms of the widespread nature, or the narrow nature, of hacking at the paper, was everyone doing it?"

Tom Crone: It proved...

Louise Mensch: "It proved that the paper as a corporate body had knowledge, but did it prove that there were many reporters at the News of the World involved?"

Tom Crone: "No. It had proved that it had gone through the computer system of a junior reporter."

Colin Myler, 6 September 2011

Damian Collins: "James Murdoch has been very clear in his written evidence to us... On this crucial second part, was he clear that this meant that there was further wrongdoing within the News of the World, as a result of the existence of this document?"

Colin Myler: "It seemed to be clear to other people that were involved."

Damian Collins: "I am not asking about other people. I am asking about him."

Colin Myler: "Obviously, I cannot speak for Mr Murdoch's recollection of this, and I cannot speak for Mr Murdoch's view that he took away from that meeting... With respect, Mr Murdoch was the chief executive of the company. He is experienced. I am experienced in what I do. Mr Crone is experienced as a legal manager. I think everybody perfectly understood the seriousness and significance of what we were discussing."

James Murdoch, 10 November 2011

James Murdoch: "The so-called For Neville email - now referred to as the For Neville email but not then referred to as the For Neville email - was mentioned to me as evidence that was important with respect of it being a transcript of a voicemail interception that came through, that proved it was on behalf of, the News of the World.

"It was not shown to me, nor was it discussed with me its other feature - that it was 'For Neville', and that it might indicate wider-spread knowledge or wider-spread activities of phone hacking."

Tom Watson: "Was it Mr Crone... who misled this committee?"

James Murdoch: "Certainly in the evidence they gave to you in 2011 with respect to my knowledge, I thought it was inconsistent and not right, and I dispute it vigorously."

Tom Watson: "So you think Mr Crone misled us?"

James Murdoch: "It follows that I do, yes."

Tom Watson: "And so do you think Mr Myler misled us as well?

James Murdoch: "I believe their testimony was misleading and I dispute it."

Tom Crone, 10 November 2011

In a statement following James Murdoch's appearance, Tom Crone said: "The simple truth is that he was told by us in 2008 about the damning email and what it meant in terms of wider News of the World involvement."

He added: "For the record, I did not 'mislead the committee' about the evidence being confined to a 'single rogue reporter'.

"If anyone cares to read the full answer I gave to Q1339 during the 2009 evidence to the CMS Select Committee, they will see that I clearly accepted the For Neville email meant 'that the problem of accessing by our reporters, or complicity of accessing by our reporters, went beyond the Goodman/Mulcaire situation'."