Les Hinton criticises MP's phone hacking report

Report was unfair and erroneous, former News International chief claims.

New Statesman
Les Hinton, left, with Rupert Murdoch Photograph: Getty Images

Les Hinton, the former executive chairman of News International, has criticised the culture, media and sport select committee's report, which accused the company of misleading the committee.

Hinton says that the committee “misread” the evidence, leading them to conclude that Rupert Murdoch was not a “fit” person to run a multi-national corporation. The report claimed that Hinton misled the committee and was complicit in a cover up over the extent of phone hacking at the company.

The report accused Hinton of failing to tell the truth about the settlement paid to Clive Goodman, the ex-royal reporter convicted of phone hacking, and called it “selective amnesia”.

In a formal response to the committee sent to chairman John Whittingdale on Monday, Hinton says "there is nothing credible … to suggest that I was anything but candid with the committee".

The conclusions, he says, “rest on a highly selective reading of the record, and unsupportable leaps in logic and inference”.

Hinton gave evidence in the 2009 investigation into hacking held by the House of Commons culture, media and sport select committee, to which Rupert Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks were also called.

He claims that he was clear about his role in authorising the Goodman pay off, and questioned the impartiality of the report, which split on party lines over some elements.

After 52 years of working for Rupert Murdoch at News International, Hinton resigned last year as chief executive of Dow Jones, due to revelations about phone hacking at the News of the World. For much of his career, he was considered Murdoch's right hand man.