Good morning everyone. Lovely day in London. A scramble to Westminster for James Murdoch's second Parliamentary Select Committee hearing.
RT @tom_watson: Late, late night playing Portal 2. Early, early morning drafting questions and listening to The Clash on full blast. #br ...
So far, this is much lower-key than James and Rupert's last appearance. No Bronco moment this time; no choppers following from Wapping
David Cameron is giving a speech about need to address balance-of-payments imbalances, both in euro zone and globally.
Cameron boasts of "firm in Anglesey selling canoes to Eskimos." Dude, Eskimo is not the preferred nomenclature. Inuit, please.
Mr. Cameron is going on and on about bonfire of the quangos. Does he not know that we're waiting for the main act to start? Wrap up, sir!
And we're off. James Murdoch is facing his first question: Why did Gordon Taylor receive a six-figure payoff?
Paradox for Murdoch: If he's a CEO who knew nothing of a six-figure legal settlement, he appears incompetent. Otherwise, untruthful
His answer: "I was aware counsel's opinion had been obtained it was not shown to me, the opinion, but [hacking details] not shown to me"
"No documents were shown to me... I was unware of settlement matters... documents all predated my presence in company... didn't raise it"
"I can't rule out whether he got me in the hallway or something" says Murdoch. So not on paper equals plausible deniablity
MP nails the question: So this significant settlement was paid out, and you asked nobody in the compny anything about it?
Q: You don't think it's proper that you should make sure this doesn't happen again? Murdoch gets uncomfortable.
Passive voice answer: "Accountability had been delivered... It was in the past."
Q: Surely you discussed this with your father? A: You don't ask your father what any NORMAL son would? A: It didn't come up between us?
RT @Selkie: Les Hinton saying Rupert M was very concerned about the Goodman case: J #Murdoch says it was before his time at NI
Murdoch: We're all humbled by it, and we're trying to improve the business... to make sure this doesn't happen again.
Oooh, it's getting Freudian! Scottish MP Jim Sheridan asks, Did you not talk to your father as any normal son would do?
Q: Did you have any time to consider the phrase "wilful blindness?" A: Well, the company could have herd the alarm bells more clearly
A: "We didn't reflect as dispassionately as we might have on those things that we might have done differently... but not wilful blindness"
This is Adrian Sanders talking here. We're still discussing 2007, when James oversaw a million-pound settlement etc around phone hacking
James: "If I knew then what I know today... the details and import of the "for Neville" doc, the company would have acted differently."
RT @KathViner: Where's Wendi? #hackgate
RT @polblonde: Is James Murdoch speaking English? Every time he says something is clear, it isn't. #phonehacking
RT @paulwaugh: Murdoch dumping on Myler/Crone from great height. Evidence given to him was "incomplete". Myler "shdve told me" full story
Q: Which do you think is worse? Knowing what was going on and being wilfully blind, or not knowing what was going on?
A to that: The NOTW was the smallest operation in slate of small within small branch of News Intl [But was paying million-pound damages!]
Whittingdale: Your papers responded to our last conclusion by calling this committee a 'disgrace to Parliament' James: erm. I'm sorry.
James: "In hindsight today, I look at our reaction to the committee's report and say, that is one turning-point we could have made..."
Tom Watson MP (Lab): Can you confirm to me that you've not been arrested? James: No (laugh) but some things under criminal investigation
Maximus, aka MP Tom Watson, enters the gladatorial ring
James: the 'widespread criminality' memo was known to me, but it didn't say there was widespread criminality.
Q: The "culture of widespread illegal information access" memo? James: I did not see it then.
Q: What about note that said "JM wanted to think through the options" - - A: I don't recall that part of the conversation
Q: Crone said in 15 Nov memo that you knew of widespread criminality, at least from 27 May 2008 meeting with Myler?
If we had a drinking game based on "to my knowledge" and "as I recall" we'd all be quite drunk.
James: "NO, I do not accept that at all, Mr. Watson." Nobody remembers the conversation, he says.
Q: Isn't it inconveivable that during this 2-week period you didn't discuss these documents - which were forcing you to settle this claim?