Yes, sir, you did, and we were pleased to hear it.
As you know, before the News of the World closed, there were four major titles: the Times, the Sunday Times, the Sun and the News of the World. At all times, each title has been run by its own editor, quite separately from its stable mates, and each paper has had, below its editor, its own editorial staff and its own journalists. There has been some sharing of support services but in journalistic terms they are separate and quite often competitive operations.
As I have already mentioned, the Times and the Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, while the Sun and formerly the News of the World are published by News Group Newspapers Limited. Despite or perhaps because they were published by the same company, the Sun and the News of the World not only operated separately; they positively competed against each other. Very recently, it had been intended that they should share a managing editor, but that arrangement had scarcely begun before the News of the World was shut.
So it is perfectly correct to say that the four papers are or were under the same roof, but they are or were very different papers with, crucially, different editors and different staff. It is, therefore, necessary to be very careful before extrapolating from some people at the News of the World to everyone at the News of the World and necessary to be very careful again before extrapolating from the News of the World to other papers under the News International roof.
If I now return specifically to the News of the World, just before lunch yesterday, Mr Jay reviewed in a numerical fashion the information to be derived from the Mulcaire notebooks. I must say immediately that we have never seen the whole set of Mulcaire notebooks. I believe the only people who have are the police.
When summarising them, Mr Jay said that the notebooks showed 2,266 taskings, and he gave the number attributed via the corner names to each of four News of the World staff, to whom he referred by the cyphers A, B, C and D. The taskings attributed to these four added up to 2,143. Some arithmetic shows that that leaves 123 taskings not accounted for by those four individuals. Those 123 taskings must include Mr Goodman, who we know was at least reasonably active and who was not included in the four given the cyphers A, B and C and D. I should say that Mr Goodman's is the only name which I intend to use.
The 123 must also include the corners marked "private", and it must also include those that are eligible. We don't know how many that leaves but it doesn't seem likely to be very many.
However, Mr Jay also said that, ignoring the "private" corner name and the eligibles, we have at least 27 other News International employees. That is a quote from yesterday's transcript. This is a context where News International means the News of the World, but apart from that, the statement has occasioned some surprise on our side. As I have said, we do not have all the notebooks, but we knew that there were five legible corner names which could be correlated with names of News of the World journalists, those being Mr Goodman and A to D. We also know that the police believe that there are a number of others who can be correlated to News of the World journalists but we do not know the names and we are in no position to assess that one way or another, nor do we know how many, but our understanding is that it certainly does not add up to 27. Given the arithmetic which I went through just now, it does sound a little surprising if that rump of 123 taskings in fact contained at least another 21 News of the World journalists whom we are unable to identify.
I don't want to present this as more important than it is. 2,266 taskings is 2,266 too many, five journalists known to have been commissioning them from the News of the World is five too many, and the corner names may not be the beginning and end of evidence of involvement. It may be possible to be involved without being a corner name at all. But nonetheless we think it is necessary to be accurate as far as possible and we would like to have this information rechecked. I'm sure that we can discuss with the Inquiry team and the police how that might be done.
There is one other point I wish to mention, which concerns the Sun. Mr Jay also referred to a claim made by Mr Jude Law alleging phone hacking by or for the Sun. Mr Jay said that Mr Law alleges that his phone was hacked by the Sun and that part of the evidential matrix in support of his case is a corner name in the Mulcaire notebook which simply states "the Sun", without specifying the individual working there.
As a result of Mr Law's claim, we do have the pages of Mr Mulcaire's notebook which we think are those referred to. We have them because Mr Law, as I understand it, obtained them from the police by a disclosure order and then disclosed them to us.
But the reference to them came as a bit of a surprise, because we only have them under the terms of the strict confidentiality undertakings given to Mr Justice Vos. They are not, so far as we are aware, in the public domain.
That gives rise to a difficulty, because it means that I cannot respond to what Mr Jay said without going further into material which is not in the public domain. All I can say is that it is quite true that Mr Law has made a claim in respect of hacking by the Sun. That claim is disputed, and we do not accept that the documents referred to by Mr Jay provide it with any cogent support.
We will have a discussion with the Inquiry team as to how all concerned can avoid incremental disclosures of material which is not in the public domain through one party referring to it, another wanting to refer to a bit more to deal with the assertion and then perhaps the first party wanting to refer to a bit more again and so on. There is a risk of a spiral there, and we should and we will have a discussion as to how to avoid it.
I must now turn to the steps which have been taken within News International to put matters right. First, in July this year the decision was taken to close the News of the World, and that newspaper published its last issue on Sunday, 10 July this year.
Secondly, a management and standards committee was established in July 2011. The committee has an independent chairman, Lord Grabiner QC, and a reporting line which runs up to Mr Viet Dinh, an independent member of the main board of News Corporation and previously an assistant Attorney General of the United States. The terms of reference of the management and standards committee require it to ensure full co-operation with this Inquiry and with the police investigations and to carry out any necessary internal investigations. They further require it to review existing compliance systems within News International and to recommend and oversee the implementation of new policies, practices and systems to create an updated and robust governance and compliance structure for News International.
The committee has appointed Linklaters, a leading firm of solicitors with wide experience of investigation work, to carry out a full internal investigation at News International and the newspapers. That investigation is being carried out under protocols agreed with the Metropolitan Police and relevant material is being passed to the police as and when required. The committee has also appointed Olswangs, a leading firm of media lawyers, to advise on best practice systems of governance.
Thirdly, News International is not sitting still and waiting for the outcome of those reviews. A new chief executive, Mr Tom Mockridge, was appointed in July this year following the resignation of Rebekah Brooks. Mr Mockridge has previously worked in New Zealand, Australia, Hong Kong and Italy, but he has not been based in the UK before, so he is a fresh pair of hands. Under his guidance, close attention is being given to compliance matters. Amongst other things, a hard copy of News Corporations' standards of business conduct has been issued to all staff.
That document has been provided to the Inquiry. It sets out the standards of ethical and lawful conduct expected of staff and includes a procedure for reporting breaches of those standards, if necessary anonymously. By reminding staff of those policies, by approving and implementing new policies on matters such as compliance with the Bribery Act and whistle-blowing, and by a process of training, steps are being taken to ensure that every member of staff at News International, including all staff of the three newspapers, understands that they are expected to abide by the law and by the highest ethical standards of professional conduct and with the Editors' Code of Practice published by the PCC.
News International believes that the staff at the Times, the Sunday Times and the Sun do not require to be reminded of appropriate standards of lawful and ethical behaviour, but we wish to ensure that there can be no repetition of what occurred at the News of the World. The Inquiry will know that since 1981, the corporate governance structure of Times newspapers Holdings Limited has incorporated arrangements set out in the Articles of Association of the company which are designed to ensure the editorial independence of the Times and of the Sunday Times. Under these arrangements, Times newspapers Holdings Limited has six independent national directors. Amongst their functions is that of resolving any disputes between the editors and the company. The independent national directors remain in place, and their role is in no way diminished by the corporate governance improvements which are being made.
Fourthly, civil claims for damages have been raised against News Group Newspapers in consequence of phone hacking. Some of these claims have resulted in proceedings being issued and the claims are being managed as a group by Mr Justice Vos in the High Court. We are trying to take a sensible and constructive approach to those claims, making admissions and concessions where appropriate, and a number of such claims have been settled either before or after proceedings have been begun.
In addition, and in order to make it easier for people to obtain compensation for admitted claims, News Group has established a compensation scheme to pay out amounts determined by Sir Charles Gray, a former High Court judge, as being equal to what a court would award with 10 per cent added on top.
By taking these steps, News International intends to ensure that what happened at the News of the World will not happen again, and that fair compensation will be paid to those who suffered from it.
I am now going to turn from the past and indeed the present to the future.