Murdoch: phone hack 'cover up'

Rupert Murdoch has blamed a cover up at the News of the World for his failure to act earlier. According to Mr Murdoch, a lawyer at the paper concealed the extent of phone hacking.

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  1. Keir Simmons

Murdoch probed over contact with Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has come under increasing pressure over his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid. Credit: REUTERS/Olivia Harris

For around half an hour Rupert Murdoch was asked about any contacts he might have had with Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Leveson counsel says that in 2009 Jeremy Hunt recorded in parliament's register of members interests that he visited New York and metwith News Corp representatives.

Mr Murdoch says he doesn't think he met Jeremy Hunt but repeatedly said he couldn't remember.

It's crucial because it goes to the question of how much contact there was between the Murdochs and Jeremy Hunt over the BskyB bid.

Mr Hunt says he conducted he process "fairly" and "scrupulously".

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'One or two strong characters' at NotW started 'cover-up culture'

Rupert Murdoch was asked where he thought the 'cover-up culture' had come from.

"Within the News of the World, there were one or two very strong characters there who had been there many, many years," he said.

"The person I'm thinking of was a friend of the journalist, a drinking pal, and a clever lawyer.

"This person forbade people to report to Mrs Brooks or to James."

He added: "That is not to excuse it on our behalf at all. I take it extremely seriously."

Half of Milly hacking story 'disowned by police', claims Murdoch

News of the World reporters accessed Milly Dowler's mobile phone voicemail. Credit: Police handout

"Half" of the Milly Dowler phone hacking story has been "disowned by police," claims Rupert Murdoch, who added he didn't want to 'play down the importance' of the scandal.

He says it was the wider hacking scandal, not the Dowler "misfortune", that ultimately derailed his BSkyB takeover bid.

'Anyone would have been fairer than Cable,' says Murdoch

Mr Cable was stripped of responsibility for overseeing Murdoch's BSkyB takeover bid after leaked comments about 'declaring war' on Murdoch. Credit: REUTERS/Andrew Winning

"Anyone other than Dr Cable" would have been "fairer" to deal with on the BSkyB takeover bid, Rupert Murdoch has told the Leveson Inquiry.

He adds that he did not know Jeremy Hunt had described himself on his website as a 'cheerleader' for Rupert Murdoch.

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  1. Sue Jameson, Daybreak Political Editor

Murdoch likely to keep cards close to chest

Rupert Murdoch will begin giving evidence for a second day at 10am this morning. Credit: Leveson Inquiry

If there are beans to spill, it does seem that Rupert Murdoch is keeping the can closed at the moment.

He's likely to reiterate what he has said before: that he never much interfered in the day-to-day running of the News of the World - the paper forced to close down because of the phone-hacking scandal.

So he's likely to be asked more about that today, but also more about the controversial deal with BSkyB and, as yesterday, his relationship with senior politicians.

How the papers react to yesterday at Leveson

How the papers reacted to Rupert Murdoch's Leveson Inquiry appearance yesterday:

  • The Daily Mirror says: 'Rupert Murdoch's still a wolf in the clothing of a harmless old man'
  • The Times headline is: 'I've never asked a prime minister for anything'
  • The Mail leads with 'Hunt at Bay': David Cameron standing by Jeremy Hunt after his adviser resigned
  • The Guardian: 'Hunt loses special adviser of BSkyB role'
  • The Telegraph makes claims about 'David Cameron's five secret meetings with Rupert Murdoch'
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