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Tom Watson MP to speak at News Corporation annual meeting

By
Tom Watson MP

© TIGA

Labour MP Tom Watson will tell News Corporation shareholders at the company's annual meeting on Friday that Rupert Murdoch's business has behaved unethically.

All eyes will be on News Corp's meeting at Fox Studios' Zanuck theatre tomorrow at 6pm UK time, as Rupert Murdoch and his son James are widely expected to face a revolt from shareholders.

Around a quarter of the company's investors have already announced various tactics to disrupt the meeting and challenge the News Corp board, which is headed by Rupert Murdoch and includes his sons James and Lachlan.

Watson, who sits on the Commons culture, media and sport select committee and has been a committed campaigner in the phone hacking scandal, is planning to speak at the meeting after securing a proxy that will allow him to vote on behalf of a shareholder.

Before flying out yesterday, Watson told the Birmingham Post & Mail: "I want the institutional investors to be in no doubt about the wrongdoing that is taking place in the name of News Corp.

"There are motions to be discussed at the meeting about improving corporate governance and I want to see those approved."

The MP from West Bromwich East has pursued News Corporation since 2009, a fight that only recently gained more mainstream support and momentum.

In July, Watson quizzed Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch on the phone hacking scandal at the News of the World, as well as other unethical behaviour from journalists.

He had previously helped uncover that News of the World journalists had hacked the phone of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler in 2002. The revelation kicked off the scandal that resulted in the closure of the Sunday tabloid and the launch of a judge-led inquiry into press ethics.

> Rupert Murdoch and James Murdoch must go, says UK pensions group

Meanwhile, a New York Times article has claimed that a rift has developed between Rupert Murdoch and his son James.

The paper said that their disagreements stem "from the clashing visions of a young technocratic student of modern management and a traditionalist who rules by instinct and conviction".

It added that James Murdoch's position came into question after the phone hacking scandal at News International, in which he played a key role by signing off a settlement to Gordon Taylor.

His standing within News Corp, said the New York Times, "became tenuous enough at one point this summer that he and other senior executives considered whether he should step aside".

> News of the World hacking more widespread, says lawyer

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