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UK Lawmaker Calls for Murdochs' Suspension

Friday, 22 Jul 2011 | 6:12 AM ET

A UK Member of Parliament has written to the board of News Corp calling for Rupert and James Murdoch to be suspended over phone hacking at the company.

Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation
Don Emmert | AFP | Getty Images
Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corporation

Chris Bryant, the Labour MP who has campaigned on the issue for months, announced on Twitter Friday that he had written to News Corp's non-executive directors asking for the suspension of the two, after new allegations that James lied to Parliament.

Tom Watson, a fellow Labour MP who sits on the committee which questioned both Murdochs Tuesday, said Friday he would refer claims that James misled the committee to police.

On Thursday, a former News of the World editor and News International's former senior legal officer issued a statement disputing James Murdoch's claim that he did not know about a key email suggesting that the phone-hacking problem went beyond one rogue reporter.

Colin Myler, who lost his job when the Murdochs closed the News of the World, and Tom Crone, who has also left the company this month, said that the email had, in fact, been brought to his attention.

"If their version of events is accurate, it doesn't just mean that parliament has been misled, it means the police have another investigation on their hands," Watson told the BBC.

James Murdoch told the committee that he had not known about an email with a transcript of hacked voicemail messages, which was marked "for Neville", referring to Neville Thurlbeck, then the News of the World's chief reporter.

This email suggested that the problem did not stop at Clive Goodman, the ex-News of the World royal correspondent who was jailed for intercepting phone messages from Clarence House, the Prince of Wales' residence.

Murdoch said Thursday: "I stand behind my testimony to the Select Committee."

Since the full extent of the use of phone hacking - to intercept the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler among other victims of crime - started to emerge earlier this month, the future of both Rupert and James Murdoch has begun to look less secure.

Key lieutenants Les Hinton and Rebekah Brooks have already resigned over the scandal.

Chase Carey, News Corp. deputy chairman, president and chief operating officer, has been suggested as a possible replacement for 80 year old Rupert Murdoch as head of the company.

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