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“We would like to point out that James Murdoch’s recollection of what he was told when agreeing to settle the Gordon Taylor litigation was mistaken,” they said. “In fact, we did inform him of the ‘for Neville’ email which had been produced to us by Gordon Taylor’s lawyers.”

The Conservative lawmaker who heads the committee, James Whittingdale, said James Murdoch would be asked in writing to clarify his testimony, but would not be recalled before the committee.

Murdoch’s News Corp. is trying to keep the damage from spreading to its more lucrative U.S. holdings, including the Fox network, 20th Century Fox and the Wall Street Journal.

British politicians have felt the heat too, with the country’s top two party leaders falling over each other to distance themselves from papers they once courted assiduously.

Cameron’s former communications director — Murdoch newspapers veteran Andy Coulson — came under fresh scrutiny Thursday after it was reported that he did not have a top-level security clearance, which spared him from the most stringent type of vetting.

The former News of the World editor was arrested this month in connection with allegations that reporters at the tabloid intercepted voice mails. Victims included celebrities, crime victims and politicians.

Lawyers could also have been targeted, according to The Law Society. It said solicitors had been warned by police that their phones may have been hacked by the paper.

Scotland Yard, accused of failing to properly investigate the scandal for years, has also been asked to investigate another explosive claim: That journalists bribed officers to locate people by tracking their cell phone signals.

The practice is known as “pinging” because of the way cell phone signals bounce off relay towers as they try to find reception. Jenny Jones, a member of the board that oversees the Metropolitan Police Authority, called for the inquiry into the alleged payoffs by journalists at the News of the World.


Robert Barr and Raphael G. Satter contributed to this report.