Former executives of Rupert Murdoch’s News UK misled Parliament over the phone hacking scandal, the House of Commons Privileges Committee has concluded.
The group of MPs found that ex-News of the World editor Colin Myler and Tom Crone, News UK’s former legal affairs manager, gave false evidence to the Culture, Media and Sport Committee (CMSC) in hearings in 2009 and 2011.
But Myler and Crone rejected the findings in statements carried by Press Association. News UK, which was called News International until 2013, is yet to respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.
The Privileges Committee found they were both guilty of “answering questions falsely about … knowledge of evidence that other News of the World employees had been involved in phone‐hacking and other wrongdoing.”
Separately, it accused Crone of misleading the CMSC in relation to a settlement News International reached with phone hacking victim Gordon Taylor, the chief executive of the Professional Footballers’ Association.
It also cleared former News International executive chairman Les Hinton over evidence he gave to the CMSC. Hinton told PA it was “too little and too late.”
The MPs recommended that the House of Commons “formally admonishes” both Myler and Crone.
The Daily Telegraph reported that the committee has the power to summon people to the Commons to apologise for misleading Parliament. It can also consider fines and even criminal proceedings, the newspaper said.
In a statement carried by PA, Myler said:
“I have made clear throughout the respect I hold for the Parliamentary process. I maintain that I did not mislead the Culture, Media, and Sport Committee.
“Had the appropriate standard of proof been properly applied, the Privileges Committee could not have reached a finding of contempt against me, given that the report identifies evidence which plainly contradicts their conclusions.
“It is profoundly disappointing that the Privileges Committee has chosen to act in a manner which serves to discredit parliamentary procedures rather than enhance the very authority and respect which they profess to command.”
Crone added: “I do not accept the findings made against me in the Committee of Privileges Report. I stand by the evidence I gave on both of the issues they have highlighted.”