Live: phone hacking back at culture committee

Written by Total Politics has a free weekly Friday email bulletin. Follow this link to register. on 6 September 2011 in Diary
Diary
Jonathan Chapman, Daniel Cloke, Colin Myler and Tom Crone appear before the culture media and sport select committee to give evidence on phone hacking at News International

Refresh for updates from 10.30

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And that's it for the hearing today.  The committee members certainly gave the News of the World former employees a rough time, but many questions were avoided using the convenient excuse of " I can't remember", due to the length of time being covered.

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Crone not aware phone hacking existed in 2002, therefore he assumed information came from the police regarding Milly Dowler.

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Crone being asked about computer hacking and tracking devices.  He denies knowing anything about either being used by NoW.

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Sheridan states Crone has a "flippant approach to surveillance".

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Myler doubts that anything remains underwraps, but hopes that everything will come out in due course.

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Mensch - Crone's credility has been damaged by the difference is what he said in 2009 and 2011.

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Incredulous look on Mensch's face when she further asks Crone whether it is credible that the police leaked detailed information to the paper, only to then ask for it to be pulled after the first editions.

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Louise Mensch rephrasing Crone's answer, saying he is suggesting that the police hacked Milly Dowler's phone then leaked the story to the News of the World.

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Mensch says it is not credible that Crone can't remember whether he advised about a story regarding Milly Dowler that was based on her hacked voicemails.

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Crone and Myler examining the copies of the stories that Mensch says were pulled from the News of the World, and both look very worried.

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Louise Mensch getting stuck into Crone.  When he uses his well-rehearsed excuse of not knowing what the questioner is talking about he is given a copy of the documents.

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According to Crone, just because your name is on the top of something doesn't mean you necessarily know about it.

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Murdoch was told that a transcript of Gordon Taylor voicemails passed through the News of the World office to Glen Mulcaire, implicating the paper.

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Crone not onvovled with the polive investigation.  Strong questioning from Therese Coffey.

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The main line of questioning (and of confusion) has focused on the meeting between Myler, Crone and James Murdoch, and invoices.

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When Myler became editor he reviewed behaviour in the News of the World and changed the system for cash payments. 

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Davies reminding Crone of what he said in 2009 that Mulcair had employment rights.  Davies asking why Crone didn't ask the director of HR at News International.  Crone denying he had anything to do with it, and said that Chapman and HR dealt with Mulcair's claim, even though they have denied this.

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Myler as editor didn't know of any payment to Goodman at all, let alone the amount that was paid.

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Andy Coulson knew News International were paying Goodman's legal fees, even when they knew he was guilty, according to Crone.

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Crone saying "are you sure I didn't tell you" when Davies asks why he lied in 2009.  Crone says that he doesn't know who above him approved Goodman's legal fees being paid by News of the World.

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Philip Davies questioning how Murdoch can have been told about phone hacking in a 15 minute meeting, and then let it go.  Crone again looking shifty saying he can't remember the details, and can't speak for James Murdoch.

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Davies making Crone very uncomfortable reminding him of conflicting information he has given between 2009 and 2011.

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Crone discussing the different ways of obtaining information, such as journalists going undercover and the legality of such actions.

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Crone again confirming he has used survelliance from private investigators, for example to provide evidence for what is believed to be true, such as in the case of personal relationships.

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Being an editor being compared to being a football manager - if your performance is good you stay, if not you are out according to Myler. 

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Myler no contact with Chapman at all, and no involvement in Goodman's financial settlement.

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Myler thought Goodman appeal was "surreal".  Couldn't think of any grounds for his appeal, but had to listen to it.  Myler confirms Goodman had no evidence, aside from 2,500 emails.

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Police inquiry not as thorough as Myler had been led to believe.  That is why he didn't conduct a broad investigation himself.

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When Myler joined NoW he instigated reforms and protocols and reinforced the importance of good conduct for those at the paper.

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Myler joined the News of the World specifically to identify and resolve misconduct.  Despite this, there was never "broad investigation" into conduct.

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Myler - "it we had known then what we know now things would have been massively different for everybody".

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Myler denying ambiguity in who knew what, even though Murdoch's previous evidence suggested there was.

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Myler being asked why there was any ambiguity at all about what Murdoch understood what was happening with phone hacking.  Neither Crone nor Myler clear whether Murdoch was clear about the wrongdoing or not.

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Myler agrees there was evidence that more than one journalist was probably involved in phone hacking.  Despite this, Crone did not make this clear to Murdoch.

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Crone trying to pass questions to Myler.  Select committee not having any of it.

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James Murdoch quoted as saying neither Crone or Myler told him phone hacking went beyond Goodman and Mulcair.  Crone confirms this is true, despite previously suggesting that Murdoch did know it went beyond these two cases.

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"Good policy" to give people a second chance according to Crone.

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The end of a very probing set of questions from Watson.  It was clear that he really wanted to catch Crone out.

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Crone initially denied using private investigators, then changed his answer saying he may have used private investigators in previous years for survelliance.

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Crone has never met Glen Mulcaire.  He doubts if he even had any contact with his lawyers.  Crone is answering slowly, considering his responses carefully.

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Watson getting very aggressive tackling Crone on what he knew about dossiers, hacking and the bribing of police.  Crone denying everything.

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Crone received no package terminating his employment at NoW.  He hasn't settled yet because of the consultation period.

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It wasn't unusual for Clive Goodman's legal expenses to be paid, Crone says, because they didn't know if he was guilty.  Watson accuses Crone of thinking phone hacking wasn't a bad thing, and covering it up to prevent the true scale of hacking being known.  Crone flatly denies thinking phone hacking was part of the job of a journalist.

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Crone appears to be getting impatient with the same questions being asked again and again.  Keeps saying he has addressed the points.

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James Murdoch gave authorisation for an open-ended settlement for the Gordon Taylor case.  Crone can't remember keeping Murdoch informed, and states he has only met Murdoch twice.

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Crone dodging questions on his knowledge of confidentiality clauses.

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Watson asks why James Murdoch agreed to settle.  Crone says it was on advice of external lawyers.  Watson doesn't understand why he agreed to settle for so much money - he suggests Murdoch knew he was buying silence.

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Crone denies settling with such a large sum in order to maintain the view that Goodman was the only "rogue reporter".

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Watson - facts given in 2009 different from those given in 2011.  Watson asks if Crone is misleading the committee again today.  Crone getting very defensive.

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Crone accused by Watson of misleading the committee in 2009 by stating that he denied confidentiality was a factor in settling the claim.  He now admits that it was.  Watson is now making him read out the transcrpit from 2009, showing how he has changed his position.

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Crone - need to avoid litigation at all costs.  By paying Taylor so much they avoided four other litigation cases.

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News of the World advised that maximum Gordon Taylor could have received was £250,000, but News of the World paid him £425,000, which Tom Watson thinks shows they knew phone hacking was widespread.

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Crone states he hasn't read the Gordon Taylor file since 2009.  Tom Watson incredulous that he hasn't and asks what he has been doing for two years.

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Crone can't remember the offer made to Gordon Taylor's lawyers.

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Crone says that Andy Coulson wanted Goodman to come back to the company even if he was guilty, once he had served his sentence.

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John Whittingdale questioning Crone on the Gordon Taylor case and the large settlement associated with it.  Crone defends Myler and his previous evidence to the committee.

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Now time for Myler and Crone.

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Bringing in the big guns now with Tom Watson.

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Chapman left News International for "personal reasons" and because he had a "mid-life crisis".  He is currently unemployed.

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Sheridan suggests that the large pay-off to Goodman shows that Cloke and Chapman knew phone hacking in News of the World was "rife".

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Jim Sheridan asks "in the unlikely event that both you of you went to prison, would you expect to be treated the same way as Mr Goodman?".  Cloke and Chapman laugh, then say no.  They didn't want to punish Goodman's family they say.

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Cloke gives up trying to defend Murdoch and says that Cathy Jamieson would have to ask Murdoch herself about the pay-off.

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Big tension when it becomes clear that Crone and Myler would have known about the pay-off to Goodman, even though they denied knowledge of such a payment in a select committee hearing in 2009.

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Pay-off to Goodman was clearly to prevent unfounded allegations being made, according to Chapman.  The pay-off included a confidentiality clause.

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Chapman says it was Hinton's decision to pay Clive Goodman a further £140,000, plus £13,000 costs in order to prevent a tribunal, even though News of the World apparently believed Goodman had no basis for a tribunal in the first place.  They didn't want "stuff to be raked up".

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If Clive Goodman had won the appeal tribunal he would have won "unlimited" compensation depending on whistelblower status.

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Clive Goodman paid a year's salaray after dismissal because of "compassionate grounds" according to Chapman.

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Highly charged question from Philip Davies regarding who authorised News of the World to pay Clive Goodman's legal costs.  Both Chapman and Cloke deny all knowledge.

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Therese Coffey using detailed research regarding what emails were investigated, making Cloke quite uncomfortable.

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Questioned by Therese Coffey, Chapman confirms News of the World only investigated the emails requested by Clive Goodman. 

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Chapman and Cloke were satisfied with the outcome of the internal employment investigation at News of the World, but did not pass on any concerns about other illegal activities.

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Cloke accused by Damien Collins of saying that there was "no smoking gun or silver bullet" in the conclusion of the NoW investigation into the emails from Clive Goodman.  Nothing to warrant further investigation.

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Chapman saying that not many outside the legal profession would understand their internal investigation.

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Chapman - initial investigation regading phone hacking was an employment issue, not a criminal one.

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Louise Mensch now asking why News of the World lawyers were not consulted during the internal investigation concerning Clive Goodman.

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Louise Mensch is very focused in her questioning of both Cloke and Chapman, asking why the issue of phone hacking was not passed up to higher management when it was uncovered.

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Chapman satisfied when going through emails in 2007 regading Clive Goodman's appeal process that there was no evidence of knowledge of, or complicity in, voicemail interception.

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Jonathan Chapman states he was "careful and diligent" when going through emails in 2007 and says it is difficult for him to recollect individual emails.

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John Whittingdale starts with questions regarding Clive Goodman and the allegations in his letter.

Tags: Colin myler, News International, Phone hacking

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