Phone hacking heat turned up on James Murdoch

James Murdoch is likely to be hauled back in front of MPs to explain himself, as evidence mounts that he was less than truthful when answering questions put to him by the Commons culture, media and sport select committee last month.

Murdoch's claim that he hadn’t known until late 2010 that more than one reporter at the now defunct News of the World was hacking voicemail messages had been sharply contradicted in subsequent statements made by ex-employees Tom Crone and Colin Myler, who said they'd told him about the content of a incriminating email back in 2008.

Now, written answers to follow-up questions posed by the select committee, are beginning to trickle into MPs' in-boxes, with Labour MP Tom Watson describing some of the replies as “dynamite”.

The first explosive device the select committee has chosen to let off is a letter written by the News of the World's former royal correspondent, Clive Goodman back in March 2007.

In the letter, Goodman wrote that phone hacking was "widely discussed at daily editorial conferences" at the News of the World. It appears that News International offered to let Goodman keep his job if he acted as the fall-guy and managed to keep evidence of widespread phone hacking out of the court case he was facing.

Goodman said the hacking for which he was then convicted was carried out with "the full knowledge and support" of other journalists at the paper.

He wrote: "Tom Crone and the editor promised on many occasions that I could come back to a job at the newspaper if I did not implicate the paper or any of its staff in my mitigation plea. I did not, and I expect the paper to honour its promise to me."

The letter was sent to Les Hinton, a Murdoch chum, but Hinton evidently chose not to disclose its contents to investigators before now.

Watson said: "Clive Goodman's letter is the most significant piece of evidence that has been revealed so far. It completely removes News International's defence. This is one of the largest cover-ups I have seen in my lifetime."