Huffpost UK Politics

Phone Hacking: Tories On Culture Committee Opposed Finding Rupert Murdoch 'Unfit'

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DCMS COMMITTEE REPORT
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The publication of the Culture, Media and Sport's report into the misleading of parliament by senior news international figures - the details of which you can find here - has clearly been a difficult process. And while it has been published, every Tory on the committee voted in favour of it not being published.

That's not to say they didn't want the truth to be disclosed; the MPs are unanimous in their view that Les Hinton misled them - by either missing out information or by just saying things that were not true. They feel the same - unanimously - about Tom Crone and Colin Myler.

The Labour MP Tom Watson MP told a news conference: "Powerful people were involved in a cover-up, and they still haven't accepted responsibility."

But that's where the agreements end. The MPs have divided on party lines - and the Conservative MPs on the committee do not endorse the claim that Rupert Murdoch is unfit to run the company.

That aspect - the process of which appears on page 113 during the minutes of the report - appears to have been orchestrated by Watson.

Many Tories, particularly Louise Mensch, feel it is a step too far, one that has in effect torpedoed the effectiveness of the whole report.

"It is partisan report and we have lost a great deal of credibility, which is an enormous shame," she told a news conference after the report was published. She claimed that making judgements about Murdoch's fitness to run a company was "wildly out of the scope of the select committee."

Read the report in full here

Tories are hardly making a secret of the fact that much of the most inflammatory sections of the report were driven by Watson.

Mensch claimed: "Something negative had to be found to say about Rupert Murdoch," because the committee had not concluded he'd misled parliament.

She said the line was "stuck in on the basis of no evidence whatsoever," and said it was really the lines about Rupert Murdoch's fitness to run a company which meant that the Tories on the committee could not endorse the report.

Watson said the divisions on the committee were an "honest disagreement."

The minutes of the committee show that the MPs disagreed with each other on seventeen occasions on the text of the report.

One of the significant divisions was about whether News International corporately misled the committee.

Tories Therese Coffey, Philip Davies and Louise Mensch voted against this, but were defeated. But one Tory, Damian Collins, did think as an entity News International had obfuscated before the committee. So the divisons were not entirely on party lines.

It would also be wrong to suggest that it was the Tories all stacked up against Watson, who during one amendment found himself opposing his Labour colleagues and voting with all four Tories. This amendement was on whether carelessness at News International was confined to executives or spread to senior management. Watson and all the Tories agreed it was the latter.

Also on The Huffington Post

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