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James and Rupert Murdoch are now being questioned by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Finally, Rebekah Brooks asks to return to give evidence to the select committee once she is free from some of the legal constraints. The DCMS committee agrees. And that's it, folks. That concludes the live blog... for now. Thanks for reading.

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David Rose, the assistant news editor at The Times, tweets: "Harbottle & Lewis say News Int has declined to release it from duties of confidentiality so can't respond to claims by J Murdoch today."

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Brooks says it was George Osborne's idea to start discussions with Andy Coulson to go into Tory HQ after he left NOTW. The first Brooks claims to have heard about the appointment was from Coulson himself and not from the prime minister. The idea that she encouraged the prime minister to hire Coulson was "not true". 

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"I have never been to Downing Street while David Cameron has been prime minister," Brooks says. But she claims to have gone regularly when Tony Blair and Gordon Brown were prime ministers. She estimates at roughly "six times a year". However, she has met with David Cameron a number of times outside of Downing Street, including news today that Cameron and Brooks met twice in a four day period over last Christmas. Denies ever going horse riding with the prime minister. "I am afraid in this current climate, many of the allegations that are being put forward... there is a lot out there that just isn't true. The truth is that he is a neighbour and a friend. But I deem the relationship to be wholly appropriate. Never at any time have I had a conversation with the prime minister that you in this room would disapprove of."

 

We are back on press relations with the police. Brooks is asked whether she knew that NOTW reporter Neville Thurlbeck was a police informant. Brooks says it is not clear what the term means. "Most journalists who work either as a crime editor or crime correspondents have a working relationship with their particular police force." She adds that journalists had a "symbiotic relationship" with the police.

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"Yes, it hasn't been particularly pleasant," Brooks says about the attention she's received since the scandal broke. Says it is one of the main reasons she wanted to leave.

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"Nine years ago when the story was run [allegedly using information from Milly Dowler's hacked phone]... it was a single column on a page," says Brooks. "I am sure questions would have been asked... There would have been a process around every story whether it was a single column or the frontpage... At the time, it [phone hacking] was not a process that was condoned under my editorship."

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A lot of people on Twitter asking where Tom Watson has gone. He has popped out of the committee room a couple of times.

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The weekend that the Dowler story went out, Brooks says it is possible that Andy Coulson may have been editing the NOTW. Will be big news if it is confirmed to be true... She also says that her own phone was hacked...

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For more information about Neil Wallis's involvement with the Conservative Party, read this early report from the Telegraph here.

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Rebekah Brooks fights back at Paul Farrelly's questions. Said that she is sure he (former city editor at The Observer) would know that private investigators were used at The Observer before 2001, when he worked there... Farrelly moves on to Glenn Mulcaire.

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Paul Waugh over at Politics Home points out on Twitter: "Brooks says first she knew Milly Dowler phone was hacked was when gdn published it. But Watson raised iat DCMS ctte in March."

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Brooks is still referring to News International as "we", notes Alan Fisher at Al Jazeera.

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Questioned on Milly Dowler in particular, Brooks says: "In 2003, as far as I was concerned... which may sound frankly ridiculous now... the press had exercised huge caution... Clearly these allegations that came out two weeks ago, if true, clearly contradict that statement I made... I heard [about Milly Dowler's phone being hacked] on the Monday before last... We saw the story at the same time that you all saw the story. My initial reaction was one of shock and disgust... The first thing I did was to write to Mr and Mrs Dowler to say that we would get to the bottom of this... I have every confidence that News International and the police will get to the bottom of that."

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Brooks uses the same 'trust broken with readers' line as Murdochs to justify why the NOTW had to close. Says that everybody from the paper can  expect to be found jobs, "not just in News International, but in News Corporation".

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She declines an opportunity from Louise Mensch to speculate whether the Daily Mail participated in phone hacking or blagging. Mensch's question comes after Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre said he would never "countenance" using phone hacking or blagging.

 

Rebekah Brooks clarifies her stance on police payments: "I have never paid a policeman myself. I have never knowingly sanctioned a payment to a police officer... In my dealing with the police, the information they give to newspapers comes free of charge."

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Rebekah Brooks says that her use of private investigators was "purely legitimate" while editor of NOTW. She adds that it was mainly in relation to Sarah's Law. On PIs, she says: "The first time I heard about Glenn Mulcaire was when he was arrested in 2006."

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Brooks accepts it was "extraordinary" that private investigator Jonathan Rees was reemployed by NOTW after conviction. Says that she found out by watching Panorama.

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BBC breaks that former NOTW deputy editor Neil Wallis was formerly advising Andy Coulson just before the election.Conservatives admit that Wallis worked there after questions from Panorama. More to come on this...

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Answering questions from Tom Watson MP, Brooks says: "I was aware that the NOTW used private detectives."

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Brooks denies sacking legal manager Tom Crone. Says that when the NOTW closed, there wasn't a job for him.

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Sophy Ridge at Sky News points out that Rebekah Brook's partner is sat on the front row, like Wendi Deng for Rupert Murdoch.

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And we're back... with Rebekah Brooks now giving evidence. My, my. Her hair is looking very voluminous. Adds her own apologies to those of James and Rupert Murdoch. She has legal representation present. But says she will try to answer as "openly as I can".

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Rupert Murdoch is allowed to read his full statement at the end of the session. You can read the full text here.

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Tom Watson addresses James Murdoch as 'James'. James Murdoch returns the greeting with "Mr Watson".

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Louise Mensch asks if Rupert Murdoch has considered resigning. He says no. She asks why not. He replies: "Because I feel that people I trusted - I am not saying who, or at what level - let me down... It's for them to pay. Frankly, I am the best person to clean this up."

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Piers Morgan responds to Mensch on Twitter: "That MP just claimed I boasted in my book of using phone-hacking for a scoop. Complete nonsense. Just read the book... I've never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, or published any stories based on the hacking of a phone... I wrote in my book that someone warned me phones could be hacked, so I changed my pin number. That's it."

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Louise Mensch quotes from Piers Morgan's book. Brings up the "little trick" of phonehacking mentioned by Morgan. James Murdoch replies: "At the end of the day, we have to have a set of standards that we believe in..."

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The Serjeant-at-Arms appears to be outside the committee room talking to police following the incident.

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UK Uncut issues a statement via Twitter: "The Murdoch stunt was not a UK Uncut action."

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And the committee is back. MPs promise to report incident to the Speaker and to investigate. 

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Attacker is being named as Jonnie Marbles on Twitter. He has been led off by policemen.

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A man on Twitter going by the name of @JonnieMarbles just tweeted: "It is a far better thing that I do now than I have ever done before #splat."

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The New Statesman is claiming that the attacker is Jonnie Marbles of UK Uncut.

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It now appears that the man had tried to throw a plate of shaving foam at the Murdochs and that is what is on his face. He is now handcuffed.

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Session suspended after a young man tries to attack Rupert Murdoch. Wendi, his wife, then tries to attack the man in response. More to come. The man appears to have something on his face. It is confirmed that Wendi Murdoch succeeds in slapping the attacker.

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Twitter consensus seems to be that the line of the session was "I wish they'd leave me alone" - Rupert Murdoch on being pestered by UK prime ministers.

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Murdoch Sr also speaks of "shared values" with Gordon Brown and says he hopes he can make up with him one day. It's taking a strange turn in the last few minutes...!

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Rupert Murdoch says his kids used to play with Gordon Brown's children and that his wife struck up quite a friendship with Sarah Brown.

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Rupert Murdoch cites Singapore as the most open society in the world, where politicians get paid $1m a year. I think he just proposed a pay rise for MPs!...

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Rupert Murdoch: "When the job became available of head of BSkyB, several people applied, including my son... I promoted him to take charge of much wider responsibilities. [When this happened] we had calls from all, most of the shareholders, saying he'd done a great job."

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"To suggest that my father and myself were in the dark" is different to delegating management, says James Murdoch.

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Paul Farrelly is pressing on why Les Hinton apparently misled the Select Committee over internal e-mails that could have provided vital evidence.

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James Murdoch “I simply cannot speak for what others knew in the past.” Keeps repeating that.

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“I don’t know and I wasn’t there at the time” is James Murdoch’s catchphrase.

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JM: "I do think it's important I don't stray into... allegations about individuals made in the past". Refuses to be drawn on Mulcaire and Goodman's unfair dismissal claims.

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The closure of a paper of “160-some-odd years”, says James Murdoch. It’s actually 168.

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James Murdoch has deffered a couple of the more "detailed questions" about internal company e-mails handed over to police because he doesn't want to influence "ongoing inquiries".

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RM on no longer paying legal fees for convicted criminal Mulcaire: "I would like to do that... provided there's no breach of a legal contract"

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JM: "I do know that certain legal fees were paid for Mr. Mulcaire by the company". Said he was "surprised and shocked" to learn that.

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JM on NOTW: "This was a paper and a title that had fundamentally violated the trust of its readers"

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RM: “The two decisions – to close the NotW and not to accept Brooks’ resignation were two completely separate decisions”

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Rebekah Brooks "just insisted" on resigning the second time around, confirms Rupert Murdoch. Says she was in a state of "extreme anguish". Interesting in the lead-up to Brooks giving evidence…

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RM: Les Hinton resigned "sadly following Rebekah Brooks resignation" because he felt he "must" step down. Says "both asked to leave" and were not pushed.

RM: “I accepted Rebekah’s resignation the second time because she insisted. She was in a state of anguish”

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Murdoch says it "could have been" Les Hinton who authorised payments to Mulcaire and Goodman for legal costs.

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"To my knowledge... I was very surprised to find the company had made certain contributions to legal fees" of Mulcaire and Goodman. "They were done in accordance with legal counsel". Philip Davies asked who authorised such payments.

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Philip Davies and Tom Watson have been the strongest questioners in this session by far

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Philip Davies (Con) asks "why on Earth" News International would have paid the legal fees of Glenn Mulcaire and Clive Goodman. James Murdoch says he has "no direct knowledge" of such payments.

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Rupert Murdoch: "I ring the editor of the Sunday Times nearly every Saturday." But seems more vague on how often he rings NOTW. Says he is most closely in touch with the Wall Street Journal. Is it a chance to protect WSJ and Sunday Times, by suggesting he took his eye off NOTW?

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Rupert Murdoch denies he would have discussed payments to hacking victims with the editor of the News of the World. Says calls to editor of NOTW were "monthly".

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Rupert says he rings editor of Sunday Times every Saturday “not to influence what he’s doing”. “I’m not really in touch”

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RM says he would sometimes "ring the editor of the News of the World on a Saturday night". "I ring the editor of the Sunday Times every Saturday. Not to influence what he has to say at all". "I'm not really in touch", Murdoch says. But concedes "to say that we're hands off is wrong". Admits he perhaps "lost sight" of News of the World because it was "so small in the general frame of our company"

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James Murdoch not familiar with term “wilful blindness”. Rupert interrupts to say that he knows what it means, but isn’t guilty of it.

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James Murdoch: “I have no knowledge of Andy Coulson’s wages after he left our company”

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Please let a headline-writer include James Murdoch’s use of the word “quantum” tomorrow. I haven’t heard the word used so much since James Bond.

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JM says as soon as NI had information there was wider phone hacking at the end of 2010 "we acted immediately"

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JM on why payments were made to settle with victims of phone hacking: "In the absence of any new evidence... this was a matter in the past." He notes that "the police had closed their case too".

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JM: "Knowing then what I know now"... A popular phrase at the moment. Says he would have taken more action to "get to the bottom of these allegations."

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“No immediate plans for a NI Sunday tabloid”

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There are "no immediate plans" for a new NI Sunday tabloid... Note "immediate" there...

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RM “this country does benefit from having a competitive press… we’re better and stronger for it”

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James Murdoch singing the praises of his independent management standards committee

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James Murdoch outlines an independent "management and standards committee" to govern the company's conduct. He promises it will have "teeth".

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Therese Coffey asks Rupert Murdoch if he will "think again" about the way his newspapers get headines in the future. RM: "It's a matter of taste... we have a wonderful variety of voices" in the press who are "naturally competitive". That's a no then?

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“I don’t have knowledge of that” is James Murdoch’s favourite line, here, it would seem...

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JM: "I do not know the total paid out" in legal settlements to victims of phone hacking.

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James Murdoch to Therese Coffey MP: "Thank you, it's a good question." Not sure I'd take that as a compliment!

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NotW closure result of a discussion between Rupert, James, Rebekah and executives. Not confirmed that it was a formal board decision

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Might have been a better idea to question Rupert and James Murdoch separately… if they would have agreed to it, of course.

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Sheridan addresses James Murdoch ‘James’ – contrast with Tom Watson’s formality to ‘Mr Murdoch Snr’

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RM passes the buck downwards – “the people who I trusted and the people who they trusted” are responsible for this

RM: “I have worked with Mr Hinton for 52 years and I would trust him with my life”

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Murdoch Senior says he is not responsible for what went wrong. He says he was "let down."

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JM: "We have apologised profusely and unreservedly... set out appropriate third part compensation schemes."

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RM: “A lot of people have a lot of different agendas in building this hysteria”

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Rupert Murdoch: "I was invited [to Number 10] for a cup of tea and to say thanks" by David Cameron after his election... Says he was also invited by Mr. Brown "many times... my family have been there many times".

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“We felt ashamed of what had happened… We had broken our trust with our readers.” That’s why Rupert Murdoch says the NOTW was closed.

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RM on NotW closure “When a company closes down it is natural that people should lose their jobs”

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Murdoch Snr very hesitant when asked his reasons for closing News of the World.

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Twitter seems divided over the issue of whether Rupert Murdoch is putting on an act as ‘old man who didn’t know what was happening’ or whether he genuinely was unaware.

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James Murdoch “Mr Watson, perhaps it would be more helpful if you’d like to go through any of the details if I could answer”

Watson: “Your father is responsible for corporate governance and serious wrongdoing has taken place. I will come back to you.

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It seems James Murdoch was designated details man, but Tom Watson is aiming all his fire at his father. Rupert Murdoch says he learnt about Milly Dowler case “two weeks’ ago” and was “shocked and appalled”.

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It is looking like Rupert Murdoch had little or no idea about what was going on in his company. Keeps telling a (very calm) Tom Watson to “ask James”

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RM: Says he was "very graciously received by the Dowler family"

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RM: “I never heard of the Moseley case. That’s the first I heard of that”

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Tom Watson very calm, measured in his questioning. Keeping the pressure on Rupert, saying “I’ll come to your son in a minute” when Rupert tries to pass questions over to him.

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“Mr Murdoch Snr”, as Tom Watson describes him, is choosing to answer with short, direct answers.

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RM: “I don’t know who lied to me. That is what the police are investigating and we are cooperating with. I was clearly misled”

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JM “I have no knowledge and I’m not aware of Mrs Brooks or Mr Hinton or any executives had any involvement or knowledge of phone hacking”

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First use of the criminal investigation line from James Murdoch over who else was involved in phone-hacking at NOTW apart from Clive Goodman

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James Murdoch: “There have been a number of arrests of NotW employees, matter of current criminal proceedings, and it is a matter of some difficulty for me to comment on individual cases”

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Rupert Murdoch: “I would just like to say one thing – this is the most humble day of my life”

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James Murdoch says “how sorry we are to victims and to their families. It is a matter of great regret, and these actions don’t live up to the standard that our company aspires to be”

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Yates criticises production orders and says that News International's lack of cooperation meant it was very difficult to pursue the inquiry further. The Committee question whether the 11,000 pages of evidence that had not been thoroughly checked might have provided significant leads.

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Yates performance today seems far more assured than his previous appearance.

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Yates says "the [phone hacking] case had been through the courts, been reviewed by counsel and the CPS" and that there seemed little reason at the time to reopen it without significant new evidence."Frankly why would we have done that with what we knew then?"

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Note: The Culture, Media and Sport Committee is due to start questioning at 2.30. We'll be covering both if there's a clash.

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It's worth reading this piece from the Guardian this AM on Yates, calling him the "right man who made the wrong call." "Yates shared the police disdain for politicians, but unlike senior colleagues he would not be patronised by them," it says.

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Yates: "Had there been any new evidence then... of course we would have considered it and may have reopened the [phone hacking] investigation"

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Yates says it's clear that "News International had completely covered up" the facts. He reiterates the "if I knew then what I know now" position he has used in previous interviews and previously to this committee. "I confidently predict... a very small number of police officers will go to prison for corruption" but that does not "taint" the entire Met. He argues that there simply wasn't the evidence to reopen the phone hacking investigation in 2009.

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On accusations he helped Neil Wallis' daughter get a job with the Met: "I have done nothing wrong... I was a postbox for a CV for Mr. Wallis' daughter... I passed on an e-mail and a CV to HR."

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Yates says he had nothing to do with the decision to hire Neil Wallis, former NOTW deputy editor, as a part time consultant with the Met. And says he "didn't have a scintilla of concern" about Mr. Wallis' in 2009.

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Yates reiterates much of what he said in his resignation speech last night. It was time to "stand up and be counted" he says, but his "conscience is clear" and his "integrity is in tact".

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John Yates, who resigned yesterday as Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, is now being questioned by the Home Affairs Committee

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Fedorcio: "The first I became aware of phone hacking was... August 2006. The only dinner I attended  withrepresentatives of News International was in April 2006." He says he had no knowledge at that time that the phone hacking investigation was taking place and had not been told by Andy Hayman that there was an investigation going on.

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Fedorcio says he was not aware when Wallis was hired to do PR work for the Met that John Yates had been a close friend of his. "I knew he had contact with Mr. Wallace, I couldn't say he was a close friend." He says "with hindsight" he would not have made the decision to employ Wallis. We've heard that phrase rather a lot lately...

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Fedorcio says the Met got three quotes for former PR work, and says that Wallace was "by far the cheapest", hence his hiring.

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Fedorcio defends PR at the Met: "Like it or not, the media have a strong interest in policing and put significant demands on the police... By having press officers in place we are able to take the pressure of investigating officers."

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Fedorcio says he has worked with Former NOTW deputy Editor Neil Wallis, but that he is "not a personal friend". The committee are questioning the fact that the Met knew about the ongoing phone hacking investigation but still hired Wallis a few months later.

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Dick Fedorcio is now addressing the Home Affairs Committee. He is director of public affairs and internal communications at the Met.

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Sir Paul says that he has doubts Mr. Yates would give Boris Johnson any information which led to the Mayor's "codswallop" quote in relation to the phone hacking.

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This session was set to end at 13:15 but seems it will overrun.

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Sir Paul is asked why the investigation wasn't re-opened in 2009. He says this should be put to Mr Yates but says he had no reason to suspect the first investigation had not been successful.

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Sir Paul says that he beleived Paul Clarke, the man behind the first investigation, was a man of integrity and at the time had no reason to believe the first investigation was not investigated thoroughly.

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Sir Paul says he regrets the appointment of Mr. Wallis.

Labour MP Steve McCabe asks what Mr Wallis actually did in his job. He didn't work in Sir Paul's office but gave him "occasional advice on speeches" with no direct work involved, Sir Paul says.

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He adds that he does not think police relationships with journalists would affect the original investigation.

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Sir Paul says the original investigation seemed successful due to the arrests that were made to two individuals.

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Tory MP Lorraine Fullbrook asks if Mr Wallis had ever been consulted about phone hacking and Sir Paul's contact with the Guardian newspaper. Sir Paul says no and adds he never talked to Mr Wallis about phone hacking

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He says he was not involved in the "procurement" process for Wallis' employment and believed him to be the cheapest person available at the time when asked about Wallis' salary. 

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Sir Paul says he only met Andy Coulson after David Cameron became PM and any relation Coulson and Wallis had was not mentioned to him.

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Keith Vaz says he finds it odd the former NoW editor got a job with David Cameron and his deputy got a job with the Met.

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Conservative James Clappison asks about his 18 lunches or dinners with NOTW over a period of 5 years. Sir Paul says as commissioner it is right to meet the media but believes the way it is done will need to change.

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Sir Paul says stay at Champneys was not inappropriate but admits it was "devastating news" when he heard of the connection with Wallis

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Sir Paul says he would be baffled if any one in the Met had information about Wallis’ business connection to Champneys. He adds he is "very, very confident" that ex-assistant commissioner John Yates would not have known either. 

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Asked about police taking payments from journalists and calls the actions of the phone hacking “repugnant.” He then says phone hacking “was not a priority” compared to the "night stalker" rapist case, the murder of Stephen Lawrence or/and other "major, major cases".

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Stephenson says Champneys hospitality wasn't inappropriate (came through family friend) and was just "damnably unlucky" Wallis turned out to be connected to it

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Lib Dem MP Julian Huppert asks whether this will hurt morale of the Met. Sir Paul says colleagues have great "pride" that he has taken action and responsibility for problems and for trying to stop public faith in the Met getting hurt by the scandal.

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Sir Paul says he does not recall sharing any information on suspects with the PM previously, let alone anyone involved in the phone hacking scandal.

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Asked again about resigning, he says that it may be “very embarrassing for me” but he would rather protect the Metropolitan police and didn’t want to open the Prime Minister or Home Secretary to compromise

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Telling slip of the tongue from Stephenson? "When I took over as prime minister..."

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He is asked if he could’ve been alerted sooner about Neil Wallis which Sir Paul says this would not have been possible, unless Mr Wallis had told him himself

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Sir Paul says the first time he heard of Neil Wallis’ connection to phone hacking was when he read an article in January this year

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He adds he did not tell the Mayor about Rebekah Brooks prior to her arrest

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He says he would not “compromise people” by telling the Home Secretary Theresa May or the Prime Minister about the arrests beforehand.

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Sir Paul says he knew Rebekah Brooks was going to be arrested "a day or two before" it happened and knew of other suspects who were to be arrested and described it as “entirely proper”

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Vaz is trying to get Stephenson and MPs to stick to the matter of his resignation, but they won't stop talking about Neil Wallis...

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Sir Paul says that Neil Wallis, the ex-News of the World journalist, had a very minor and part-time PR contract with the Met

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Sir Paul says he never asked about phone hacking because he had no reason to think the original investigation had been unsuccessful.

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Sir Paul says that employing Neil Wallis by the Met was "entirely different" to Mr Cameron's hiring of Andy Coulson as his chief of communications. He denies Keith Vaz’s assessment that he was "taking a swipe" at David Cameron in his resignation speech by comparing the two issues.

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He adds that he had no reason not to hire Neil Wallis as at the time there was no association in the phone hacking scandal at the time. He says there is no swiping at David Cameron.

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Stephenson is denying he had any intention to hit out at Cameron in his statement. Didn't sound like that...

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Sir Paul says he is not apologetic at all for the stay at Champneys Spa

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Sir Paul says many colleagues (and his wife) urged him not to resign but he wanted to protect the Metropolitan Police by doing so

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Chairman Keith Vaz says he has spoken to the Chief earlier this week and resignation seemed the last thing on Sir Paul’s mind. Sir Paul says he had more time to think and contemplate and Boris Johnson and Theresa May had given him support

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Chairman Keith Vaz asks why he felt he should resign if he was not implicated in the News International phone hacking scandal. Sir Paul says he was clear in his resignation letter and didn’t want the media coverage to be entirely about himself.

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He adds that he is “very sad” to quit but wanted to do it fast so a replacement could be found for the Met’s biggest challenge of the Olympics.

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First up: Sir Paul Stephenson, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner

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The running order for this afternoon's evidence is:

12.00 The home affairs committee takes evidence on phone hacking from former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson

12.45 Dick Fedorcio, Director of Public Affairs at the Metropolitan Police, appears at the home affairs committee

1.15 John Yates, former assistant commissioner at the Met, gives evidence to the home affairs committee

2.30 Rupert and James Murdoch appear before the culture, media and sport select committee to give evidence on phone hacking at News International

3.30 Rebekah Brooks, former Chief Executive of News International, former editor of News of the World, gives evidence to culture, media and sport committee

5.30 Lord Ken MacDonald, former DPP, at the home affairs committee on phone hacking

6.00 Kier Starmer QC, current DPP, at the home affairs committee to give evidence on phone hacking

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Who's who?

Gareth

Matt

Caroline

Amber

Shane

 

Tags: Brooks, Murdoch, Phone hacking, Police, Stephenson, Yates