By Marcus Leach
Following the phone-hacking scandal that forced the closure of the News of the World newspaper, as well as rocking Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation to its core, MPs finally had the chance to quiz those at the highest level.
Rupert Murdoch, his son James, and former editor of the News of the World Rebekah Brooks all appeared before MPs today to answer questions on the phone-hacking scandal.
Below are the events as they unfolded throughout the day, with the most shocking aspect being the attack on Rupert Murdoch as his and his son's session in front of the Committee drew to a close.
Hackgate as it happened
19:25 As the hearing draws to a close Mrs Brooks asks that when legal proceedings involving her are finished that she be invited back to answer questions more freely.
19:20 Now Mrs Brooks states that it is not fair the News of the World should be singled out as the only paper to have close relations with the police and politicians.
19:18 On the topic of Mr Coulson she says it is not true that she suggested he be hired, as some press reports have suggested. Further to that she says press reports claiming Mr Coulson's salary was subsidised by News International were not true.
19:15 Mr Brooks rubbishes stories claiming she went horse riding with David Cameron. Again these questions seem to be a little vague and not really getting to the point. She does says it is public knowledge that it was George Osborne's idea that the discussions over whether to employ Andy Coulson should begin after he left the News of the World.
19:10 Mrs Brooks says there would not now be a new investigation if News International had not handed over more details to the police. Further to that she stresses she has appeared at this hearing today to be open and honest about events.
19:08 Asked if she regretted any of the headlines she published MRs Brooks admitted she would have made mistakes, as everyone does, but that she maintained the view of free press.
19:00 Mrs Brooks explains that any newsroom is run on trust and that stories get published on trust and you rely on the people who work for you to behave in what she says is 'a proper manner'.
18:57 Further questions on the Millie Dowler phone-hacking, but Mrs Brooks reminds us she has to remain careful in what she says due to ongoing criminal proceedings.
18:54 News relating to the attack of Rupert Murdoch during his questioning now. Commons speaker John Bercow has asked for a full investigation as no witness should ever be treated in such a manner.
18:52 Mrs Brooks stresses she did not encourage other paper's editors to not cover the phone-hacking case in 2009.
18:50 Mrs Brooks says: 'I don't know anyone in their right mind who would authorise anyone listening to the voicemails of Milly Dowler in those circumstances'.
18:48 Quizzed on the company's previous efforts to respond to phone-hacking allegations she said that when she saw a 'new file' she said it had shed new light on matters and she handed it over to police.
18:45 The next question is 'was Mrs Brooks on holiday at the time Millie Dowler's phone was hacked?' She denies any statements to that effect were put out, saying she was away at the time but feels it was irrelevant because, as editor, it would have happened 'on her watch'.
18:40 Mrs Brooks claims that her own phone messages were accessed by Glen Mulcaire on a regular basis, stating she had 'the same knowledge' as everyone else about it.
18:36 Mrs Brooks says her use of private detectives was due to being convinced that 'Sarah's Law' was in the public interest.
18:33 At the time Mrs Brooks believes the press respected the privacy of the Dowler family, following Millie's disappearance and subsequent death. However, she went on to say that 'clearly these allegations, if true, are appalling and contradict the statement I made'.
18:31 Confirmation from Mrs Brooks that she knew Millie Dowler's phone had been hacked two weeks ago, at which stage she wrote to Surrey police.
18:29 A rather ambiguous answer from Mrs Brooks, which will surprise some given the severity of the question. Asked when was Millie Dowler's phone hacked she replies, 'Last Monday, maybe the Monday before'. She then goes on to explain how a newspaper would handle such a large case.
18:25 Mrs Brooks claims it could take up to a year to find out what really happened, and if the rest of the investigation follows the softly-softly approach of this Committee today then it could be longer.
18:23 Large parts of this hearing seem irrelevant, given the Rupert and James Murdoch were asked similar questions. And now Mrs Brooks too states that they are trying to find jobs for journalists throughout News Corporation.
18:20 Mrs Brooks praises the 'very honourable' journalists at the News of the World who had been 'baffled' by the decision to close the paper.
18:17 On to Jim Sheridan MP now and he jumps in with a question relating to the closure of the News of the World, which given we have seen such questions to the Murdochs earlier seems rather pointless. As with the Murdochs, Mrs Brooks says it was a collective decision, which we already knew.
18:13 A calm Mrs Brooks stresses that News International is striving to put matters right.
18:11 When asked about matters of practice relating to other papers Mrs Brooks said she did not wish to comment on other paper groups.
18:08 A telling question as Mrs Brooks is asked whether payments to police were widespread across newspapers or confined to News International. She answers saying that as far as she was aware from her experience that information from the police came 'free of charge'.
18:03 Mrs Brooks said she did have contact with another private investigator Steve Whittamore, and that she became aware of the hacking of Millie Dowler's phone only two weeks ago. She said she has deep regrets about what has happened and that the hacking of Millie Dowler's phone was 'abhorrent'.
18:02 Tom Watson says it seems incredible that Mrs Brooks doesn't, as chief executive of the company, know the details of Mr Jonathan Rees as a private investigator and that it seemed extraordinary that he was hired following his convictions.
17:59 Mrs Brooks claims that she never met private investigator Glen Mulcaire, and furthermore that Mr Mulcaire would deny it, as 'it's the truth'.
17:56 Once again it is Tom Watson MP who is leading the charge, asking Mrs Brooks the extent that she worked with private investigators. She says 'not at all' at the Sun, adding that News of the World 'employed private investigators like most newspapers in Fleet Street'.
17:54 With criminal proceedings under way we could see a very cagey Mrs Brooks here, who will not want to dig a deeper hole for herself. She says that once evidence of wrong-doing was uncovered that they acted 'quickly and decisively'.
17:52 Mrs Brooks claims that until the Sienna Miller documents emerged in 2010 that senior management had not seen evidence relating to a current employee of the company relating to accusations that News of the World journalists had accessed mobile phone messages.
17:50 The former News of the World editor says that her lawyer is with her so she does not 'impede those criminal proceedings' following her arrest at the weekend, but she hopes to be as open as possible'.
17:48 Rebekah Brooks begins her hearing along the same lines as the Murdochs did earlier, issuing an apology for the events at the News of the World, saying what happened was 'pretty horrific'.
17:45 Rebekah Brooks finally takes her seat in front of the Committee over two hours after she was originally scheduled to do so.
17:40 But for the questions of Tom Watson and Louise Mensch this hearing would have been quite pointless. Hats off to the two of them for asking some sharp and meaningful questions. Still, the Murdochs will feel rather relieved to have left as they did, despite the attack on Rupert Murdoch.
17:32 A five minute break now, after which Rebekah Brooks will take the stand.
17:30 In his closing statement Rupert Murdoch says he will work tirelessly to win the forgiveness of the phone-hacking victims and that the News of the World's behaviour 'went against everything I stand for and my son too'. As far as he was concerned when two men were jailed in 2007 for phone-hacking he thought it was the end of the matter.
17:25 In concluding Mrs Mensch praises Rupert Murdoch for immense courage in staying in the room following a common assault. And now onto the final statements from father and son.
17:22 The final question from MP Louise Mensch now, asking if as captain of the ship Rupert Murdoch has considered standing down from his position. He says he has not, going on to say that people working for him have 'betrayed' him and he is the 'best person to clear this up'.
17:20 Questions relating to alleged phone-hacking outside of the UK, to which James Murdoch says he has not heard of any instances and reiterates that employees are asked to comply with a code of ethics.
17:17 A cowardly act to attack a man in his eighties, no matter what has happened in relation to the phone-hacking scandal. MP Louise Mensch praises Rupert Murdoch's immense guts for facing the committee.
17:16 Police have arrested the man who attacked Rupert Murdoch during the hearing in front of the Culture Committee.
17:15 After some delay the hearing is back underway. Whatever has happened with this scandal the events of the last fifteen minutes are totally unacceptable.
17:00 A look of horror on James Murdoch's face, and hardly surprising given his father has just been attacked. Rupert Murdoch's wife, who has sat behind him in the gallery throughout this, jumped up to defend her husband. Police have taken the offending man out of the room.
16:53 The hearing is suddenly suspended for ten minutes due to some kind of disturbance, more on that as soon as we know what the problem is.
16:52 Finally we reach the last MP to put questions to the Murdochs.
16:50 Rebekah Brooks is due to appear before the Committee next, having been kept waiting for over an hour and a half past her scheduled time.
16:45 A moment of light humour to break the monotony of recent questions as Rupert Murdoch says Singapore is the cleanest society in the world, as every minister is paid at least one million dollars a year and has no temptation to transgress. "Good luck in selling that one," Damian Collins MP replies. That the Murdochs have a chance to joke during this sums up the way the hearing has gone for them.
16:43 Asked if if it is right that people in public life can expect total privacy Rupert Murdoch simply replies 'Nope' and awaits the next question.
16:40 The MPs seem to be a disjointed bunch here, only Tom Watson has asked a series of questions that aimed at getting to the core of the matter. Whilst it is important to get the minor details as well it seems that is the entire focus of this 'grilling'.
16:38 Again it seems like the questions are just going over what we heard earlier, referring to Rebekah Brooks and the fact News International has become a family business. Rupert Murdoch simply replies that his son went through the proper recruitment process.
16:34 Rupert Murdoch seems to have woken up and says he was not kept in the dark, but rather that he might not have found out about a small part of his business. He does admit that the situation has become 'extremely serious'.
16:30 Rupert Murdoch speaks up briefly when asked if it was possible that the editor of a newspaper did not know that staff acted as gatekeepers for a private investigator. He simply says it was important to find out the extent of what was going on.
16:25 The hearing is meandering along a little now and still no sign of the sort of question that will get to the heart of the matter. James Murdoch still fielding the vast majority of those questions asked.
16:19 As the hearing nears the two hour mark, having been scheduled for just one hour (rather optimistically I might add) James Murdoch says it is important 'not to stray' into allegations about individuals, given the police investigations under way, in reference to proceedings by Goodman and Mulcaire for unfair dismissal.
16:15 Don't forget you can follow and interact with us live on Twitter throughout the questions by following @freshbusiness
16:10 After James Murdoch admits he doesn't know if News International is or isn't still contributing towards Mr Mulcaire's legal fees, his father says he would 'like to stop' all payments to Mr Mulcaire, and will ensure this happens.
16:04 A reminder that Rebekah Brooks is due to appear after Rupert and James Murdoch have finished answering questions. However, with this session already running over by forty minutes don't expect to see her anytime soon.
16:02 The closure of the News of the World was the 'right choice' according to James Murdoch, saying that whilst it was a grave thing, the hurt caused by the phone-hacking scandal was far worse.
15:57 Rebekah Brooks's resignation was accepted after the second time she offered it, as she was in a 'state of extreme anguish', Rupert Murdoch says, only to receive a question that does he regret closing the News of the World to try and save Rebekah Brooks. Another strange question.
15:54 James Murdoch reveals he was surprised to find that News International had helped with legal fees for Clive Goodman and Glen Mulcaire, but does not know who made the payments.
15:50 At present both father and son look very relaxed and at ease with the questions and have yet been made to squirm in their chairs. Admittedly they are well versed in dealing with questions, but none have cut to the bone yet.
15:47 As well as the coverage here on the website, Fresh Business Thinking is covering today's events on Twitter, follow us @freshbusiness and join the debate.
15:45 Rupert Murdoch, asked how often he spoke with the editor of the News of the World, says 'seldom' and that the paper was small in the context of the copious issues he deals with in a working day.
15:42 Another question that doesn't seem to be getting to the heart of the matter, with the Murdochs asked what training they had received before the hearing. The answer, from James, is that they had been told to be as transparent as possible.
15:38 James Murdoch claims that News International acted as soon as they discovered information relating to a wider involvement in phone-hacking in 2010. Rupert Murdoch then adds that News International was never guilty of 'wilful blindness' on the phone-hacking allegations.
15:35 Other than the calm, collected questions of Tom Watson it seems some of the other questions are a little lacking in direction or real purpose.
15:33 And now another question on out-of-court payments, to which James Murdoch says they high amount of these payments was not to buy silence or confidentiality.
15:32 Back now to the phone-hacking specifically, as James Murdoch again stresses the fact that the 'critical' evidence and information on the case came to light in 2010.
15:30 Becoming slightly more animated now Rupert Murdoch bangs the table to emphasise his point that the UK greatly benefits from having a competitive press and a transparent society.
15:27 James Murdoch, who is happy to take the bulk of the questions, says it is not unusual for journalists to make cash payments, but it is customary that they record these. Rupert Murdoch seemingly contradicts his son somewhat here by saying that each newspaper has an editorial manager who has to approve expenses claims for every reporter and that no reporters have 'authority' to do so on their own.
15:22 James Murdoch explains that News International was authorised to make out-of-court settlements without having to go to News Corporation, and that for the entire board of News Corporation to be consulted on payments the sum would have to be 'in millions'.
15:20 In relation to the out-of-court settlement to Gordon Taylor, which was suspected to be a bung to keep quiet over phone-hacking, James Murdoch explains that they were losing the case and it was wiser to settle out of court than lose the case in court and pay in excess of £1 million.
15:17 Rupert Murdoch explains that the closure of the News of the World followed a meeting of the entire News Corporation board, and says it was not at all a commercial decision.
15:15 Back to Rupert Murdoch now as he claims he is not responsible for the phone-hacking scandal, but rather the responsibility of some of those he trusted.
15:13 The victims of voicemail interceptions have had compensation schemes set up, James Murdoch says, but will that really make amends for this shocking scandal?
15:12 James Murdoch then takes over once more, this time stressing that the damage to the company's reputation from the News of the World phone-hacking scandal is 'a matter of huge and sincere regret'. Thus far the two Murdochs have been calm and collected as they give their measured answers.
15:10 Rupert Murdoch stresses that there has been no evidence of any wrongdoing found by the FBI in the US.
15:08 A question now as to why Rupert Murdoch entered 10 Downing Street through the back door on his visit there, to which he answers that he 'just did what he was told'. He says he entered through the back door not just visiting David Cameron, but also when he visited Gordon Brown there.
15:06 James Murdoch steps in again to say that many of the people implicated in civil litigations have left the company.
15:03 There is utter silence in the room apart from the voices of MP Tom Watson and Rupert Murdoch. Mr Murdoch, becoming more talkative as the process develops, says that News International was '100% cooperative' with the police investigations.
15:00 Rupert Murdoch is unhappy at the use of the word 'endemic' by Tom Watson in relation to criminality at the News of the World, but does say he was 'shocked and appalled' by the Millie Dowler phone-hacking revelations.
14:58 The reason Rupert Murdoch was not made aware of the payment earlier was due to it being 'below the approval thresholds' which would require his father's approval, James Murdoch says.
14:54 Tom Watson asks about the 2006 internal News International report on phone hacking, at which point James Murdoch steps in to take over once again. He says that his father only became aware of an out-of-court settlement to Mr Gordon Taylor after it had been made in 2009.
14:53 You could cut the tension with a knife at the moment as Tom Watson and Rupert Murdoch exchange questions and, in Mr Murdoch's case, abrupt and unhelpful answers. 'Nope' seems to be his favourite word at the moment.
14:52 Rupert Murdoch says News International employed a leading firm of lawyers to investigate matters further.
14:51 Finally Rupert Murdoch speaks up, albeit in a less forthcoming manner than his son, and says 'yes' when Labour's Tom Watson asks whether the company had a 'zero tolerance' attitude to wrongdoing.
14:51 He goes on to say that he had no knowledge that Rebekah Brooks or Les Hinton knew about phone hacking.
14:50 James Murdoch, in a composed and dignified manner, says the handing over of information by News International shows the company's stance on the matter.
14:46 Still doing all of the talking James Murdoch says it is a matter of 'deep frustration' and 'real regret' that the facts did not come to light earlier.
14:45 James Murdoch says that this followed the successful prosecutions of 2007 and the resignation of Andy Coulson as NoW editor. He goes on to say that in 2008 and 2009 that there was no additional evidence or matters to be dealt with, and that the 'critical new facts' came to light in the civil trials in 2010.
14:44 The chairman says that in 2009 when the committee first took evidence that all of the News International executives said there had been a thorough investigation and no more evidence found. He then asks bluntly, 'was this a lie?'
14:43 James Murdoch, doing all of the talking thus far, says that News International alerted the police, and re-opened the investigation and admitted liability in certain cases.
14:41 Following his father's interruption James Murdoch continues to say that following hearings in 2009 he realised that potentially more people had been involved in the hacking scandal.
14:39 As James Murdoch says his apology, saying it is a matter of sadness to the company and to him and his father, he is interrupted by his father who says 'this is the most humble day of my life'.
14:38 James Murdoch opens with a full apology to the victims of the phone-hacking scandal and looks incredibly calm. How long will that last for though, as the questions will leave no stone unturned.
14:35 The Murdochs take their seats, at which point James Murdoch asks to make an opening statement, however, Committee chairman John Whittingdale refuses, saying he can do so after the hearing.
14:30 We now switch our attention to the main event of the day as Rupert and James Murdoch take the stand in front of the culture committee. This could be very interesting indeed.
14:26 Amidst all of the seriousness a moment of humour as Mr Vaz assures Mr Yates he will be out before the next witness arrives at 17:30, to which Mr Yates jokes 'I am enjoying myself so much'.
14:22 Mr Yates once again stresses he did not carry out a full 'review' of the original police investigation into hacking, only that he just tried to establish certain facts around the case.
14:20 As the questions for Mr Yates continue it seems that the scheduled time of 14:30 for Rupert Murdoch to appear before the Committee will be pushed back slightly. But he will appear today.
14:18 Mr Yates has his own words thrown back at him, that he had made 'a crap decision' not to re-open the phone-hacking investigation. He explains that he only meant that in relation to what he now knows, and goes on to say he expects a 'very small number of police officers' will be jailed for corruption over the phone-hacking scandal.
14:14 Mr Yates stresses that Mr Wallis is still an 'innocent man'.
14:12 Now on to the matter of whether Mr Yates was close friends with Mr Wallis or not. Mr Yates says he met him two or three times per year over six years or so, saying they were friends but were not 'bosom buddies living in each others' houses'.
14:10 Asked about his nepotism, having been accused of securing a job at the job at the Met for Neil Wallis's daughter, Mr Yates said, 'I simply acted as a post box for an application'. He goes on to say he sent a single email relating to the matter.
14:08 Mr Yates claims it is a slight exaggeration to say he had carried out due diligence, and that in fact he had simply sought assurances from Mr Wallis that he had no part in the phone-hacking that could later embarrass the Met.
14:02 Despite a warm and polite welcome for Mr Yates he is instantly put on the spot as Mr Vaz kicks off by asking why Mr Yates resigned. To which he answers the phone-hacking scandal had become a major distraction from his main role as head of counter terrorism.
14:00 And now John Yates takes his place in the hot seat, with Rupert Murdoch due at 14:30.
13:58 Mr Fedorcio claims that the first time he became aware of phone hacking was upon his return from leave in August 2006. The only dinner he attended with Andy Hayman and News International was in April 2006, while the hacking investigation was happening. He went on to say that he had no knowledge at the time of the investigation, claiming it would have been inappropriate for him to know at the time.
13:55 Mr Fedorcio says he talked to John Yates about hiring Mr Wallis specifically because of his involvement in the phone-hacking investigation. He adds he has 'no reason to doubt' Mr Yates's integrity.
13:52 Mr Fedorcio admits he knew Mr Yates was a personal friend of Mr Wallis. Committee chairman Keith Vaz questions why Mr Fedorcio allowed Mr Yates to carry out due diligence on the former NoW deputy in that case.
13:47 Mr Fedorcio said Mr Wallis was employed to help with 'corporate policy matters' and not 'operational activity' and that he 'never' discussed the phone-hacking scandal with Mr Wallis.
13:46 Mr Fedorcio claims he hired Mr Wallis because he was 'the cheapest option' available.
13:45 Questions now turn to why Mr Fedorcio didn't ask more questions to Mr Yates relating to Mr Wallis and phone-hacking.
13:40 Looking rather awkward, Mr Fedorcio explains that he needed external advice as his deputy was recovering from a serious illness.
13:37 Next to face a rather uncomfortable time in the hot seat is Dick Fedorcio, the Met's Director of Public Affairs. The first question to him is 'why did he employ Mr Neil Wallis?'
13:35 Sir Paul finishes after almost 90-minutes of questioning and concludes by talking about his resignation, saying he had to put the police force first. "That's leadership, and that is why I'm going," he said.
13:22 Only 15 journalists have been allowed in to Portcullis House ahead of the Murdoch's questioning, as well as 30 members of the public.
13:20 Rupert and James Murdoch will face questions from the Commons culture committee on News International's role in the phone-hacking scandal at 14:30.
13:00 At present Sir Paul Stephenson, former Metropolitan Police commissioner who stepped down from his position on Sunday, is being questioned by the Commons home affairs committee.