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Murdochs won't talk to MPs over phone-hacking scandal

Rebekah Brooks will defend herself

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News Corporation boss Rupert Murdoch has refused to appear before a committee of MPs who want to probe the media tycoon over phone-hacking allegations made against his sister company News International.

But the under-fire chief said he was "fully prepared to give evidence to the forthcoming judge-led inquiry".

Murdoch's son James, who is News International's chairman, also declined to appear on 19 July.

However, News International CEO Rebekah Brooks, who sensationally shuttered Sunday tabloid News of the World late last week, will address the Committee of Culture, Media and Sport.

She said in her letter to the committee's chairman, Tory MP John Whittingdale, that she would be unable to comment on the Metropolitan police's investigation into illegal voicemail interception, because her company didn't want to "prejudice it".

Meanwhile, the two Murdochs were reportedly slapped with summonses from the MPs appealing for the men to appear for the public grilling over phone-hacking next week.

It remains unclear if the News Corp boss can be forced to testify at the inquiry as he is a US citizen.

His son James said he was unable to face the committee on 19 July, and offered an alternative appearance date in August, which MPs have already rejected.

Whittingdale told the BBC that he expected a response from the Murdochs, but added that if they still refused to appear at next week's inquiry, the committee would then be required to report such a decision to the House of Commons.

Separately the Met confirmed in a statement this morning that its detectives had arrested a 60-year-old man at his home in London "on suspicion of conspiring to intercept communications".

He is being held at a west London police station, said the Met, without naming the individual. Reports suggest that the deputy editor of the NotW Neil Wallis, who served under Andy Coulson from 2003 to 2007, is the man currently in custody. ®

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