Murdoch appearance ‘won’t turn into lynch mob’

By Ian Dunt

Tuesday's committee meeting with the Murdochs and Rebekah Brooks will not be allowed to turn into a lynch mob, the chair has said.

Speaking on the Andrew Marr programme, John Whittingdale, Conservative chair of the culture media and sport committee, said he had to find the right balance between scrutiny and witch-hunt.

"I don't want us to turn into a lynch mob, but on the other hand I don't want to let them off without addressing the questions we have," he said.

"James Murdoch himself said the committee – well, parliament – was mislead, so he's told us that's the case."

Asked about reports that his relationship with Ms Brooks was strong enough that they were connected on Facebook, Mr Whittingdale played down the idea while accepting its substance.

"I have 570 friends on Facebook," he said.

"Whether Rebekah Brooks is still one of them I rather doubt, since I invited her to appear before the committee."

The interview suggested that Rebekah Brooks would be dealt with separately from Rupert and James Murdoch.