17/07/2011 05:27 BST | Updated 15/09/2011 06:12 BST

John Whittingdale Denies He Is Too Close To Rebekah Brooks As His Committee Prepares To Interview Her And The Murdochs

John Whittingdale has denied his links to former News International Chief Executive Rebekah Brooks are too close, after it was revealed the two are friends on facebook.

He told the BBC on Sunday morning: “I have 570 friends on Facebook, whether or not Rebekah Brooks is still one of them I rather doubt since I've summoned her to appear before me.”

Whittingdale’s culture media and sport select committee will take evidence from Brooks, Rupert and James Murdoch on Tuesday.

He revealed the committee would interview Brooks separately as she no longer worked for News International.

“We will probably want to talk to her separately from Rupert and James Murdoch.”

The select committee chair promised that there would not be a “lynch mob” but said the three had questions to answer over the News of the World phone hacking scandal. Whittingdale pointed to email evidence which only became available to the police years after the scandal emerged.