The board of British satellite broadcaster BSkyB welcomed James Murdoch back as chairman on Thursday without a single vote against him. Yet while BSkyB may feel Murdoch has not committed a significant enough transgression to lose his post, the British government may soon force their hand.
According to the Guardian, indications are that Parliament will ask the younger Murdoch – as compared to his octogenarian father and News Corp. chairman and CEO Rupert Murdoch – to give testimony in front of MPs a second time.
Murdoch testified alongside his father in front of the Culture, Media and Sport Committee July 19, but former News of the World editor Colin Myler and the tabloid’s former head of legal affairs Tom Crone have since said that he misled the committee.
John Whittingdale, the committee’s chairman, said on Friday he would ask Murdoch for further details about subjects where evidence is disputed. He said he would also write to Myler and Crone, as well as News International’s former director of legal affairs, Jon Chapman, whom the Murdochs often blamed in their testimony.
MP Tom Watson, who has been outspoken throughout the scandal, had wanted immediate summons dispatched, but Whittingdale wanted written responses first. However, he has indicated that the committee will summon those with different accounts of the evidence the next time the full committee meets in August.
The dispute centers over the “for Neville” email. The e-mail, which was supposed to be sent to former top News of the World reporter Neville Thurlbcek, included transcripts of hacked conversations and thus suggests that Thurlbeck knew of the hacking.
Murdoch said he was unaware of the e-mail at the time he approved a settlement payout to Gordon Taylor for upwards of $1 million, chief executive of the Professional Footballers Association. Taylor’s phone had been hacked.
Myler and Crone told the committee in a joint statement that Murdoch was aware of the e-mail. If Murdoch was in fact lying, it would mean he has known about hacking much longer than he and his father said they did and thus further imperil both his position at News Corp. and the company’s position in the UK.
For now, BSkyB is operating by the rule of innocent until proven guilty.
Its CEO Jeremy Darroch has publicly supported Murdoch and the company announced a stock buyback on Friday.