Louise Mensch speaks out after phone-hacking inquiry

COUNTY MP Louise Mensch was among the Conservative members who spoke out against the findings of the News of the World phone-hacking scandal today.

Corby MP Mrs Mensch and her colleagues disagreed with the description of News Corp chief Rupert Murdoch as unfit to run a major international corporation.

But at the conclusion of the Leveson Inquiry, the select committee Mrs Mensch was a part of said News Corp had been guilty of “huge failings of corporate governance” and that throughout its instinct had been “to cover up rather than seek out wrongdoing and discipline the perpetrators.”

The Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee accused the News Corp chief of exhibiting “wilful blindness” towards the wrongdoing in his organisation.

And the report accused three former senior executives of News Corp’s UK newspaper publishing arm News International - Les Hinton, Colin Myler, and Tom Crone - of misleading the committee during its inquiries into the scandal.

But no Conservative member supported claim that Murdoch is was not a fit person to run an international company.

Mrs Mensch said: “We voted against the who report. We would have voted in favour if [Labour minister] Tom Watson had taken out the line about Rupert Murdoch not being fit to run the company. We didn’t take any evidence on that issue.

“I think it lets News Corporation off the hook because it makes it not credible. It is done strictly on party political lines and doesn’t have the same gravitas as other select committee reports.

“There were major failures in corporate governance at News International and we named three people – Colin Myler, Tom Crone and Les Hinton. We are agreed on that.”

Mrs Mensch is now calling for an offence to be created of contempt of Parliament, in a similar vein to contempt of court, to hold people to account for lying to select committees.

She said: “People should not lie to select committees because they represent Parliament. They [News International] should have come clean in the first place.”