New evidence set to reignite tabloid phone hacking row

Steve Dinneen
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RUPERT Murdoch must have been “confused or misinformed” over the role of Harbottle & Lewis in the phone hacking investigation, the law firm claimed yesterday in an intervention that looks set to reignite the row.

The firm dismissed Murdoch’s claims that a 2007 report it carried out suggested phone hacking was not widespread at News International.

Harbottle & Lewis said its report focused only on an employment dispute. The claim was part of a raft of new submissions released by the media select committee yesterday.

Chairman John Whittingdale MP said he is “minded” to recall James Murdoch before the committee after the former News of the World head lawyer, Tom Crone, and ex-editor Colin Myler both said he was “mistaken” to claim he had no knowledge of a smoking-gun email that allegedly proved phone hacking was not limited to a single rogue reporter.

Meanwhile, the newspaper’s former royal editor Clive Goodman, the only journalist to be jailed over the scandal, threw further fuel on the flames with claims that phone hacking was “widely discussed” at editorial meetings.

In a letter written four years ago but published for the first time yesterday, Goodman said phone hacking was openly discussed in front of then-editor Andy Coulson.