James Murdoch has misled a UK Parliamentary committee, either deliberately, through lying, or by being so indifferent to the truth-value of his testimony that he has been deceitful by negligence. That’s the only conclusion one can draw from the startling new revelations of a 2008 email to Murdoch from Colin Myler, the then News of the World editor, detailing the case being brought by Gordon Taylor, head of the UK Professional Football Players Association, for which Taylor would eventually gain major damages and costs in an out-of-court settlement.

Murdoch hitherto claimed that he had seen no emails on the matter, before signing off on the £1 million at a meeting with Myler and News Corporation legal supremo Tom Crone. However the email now produced by News Corp not only shows that Murdoch received the multi-part email containing Crone’s advice (that Taylor was determined to press his suit), but also that Murdoch replied to it, acknowledging its receipt. The email also refers to the notorious “for Neville” email — an inter-office email which establishes that hacking was standard practice, and which Murdoch has repeatedly claimed not to be aware of. Indeed Crone’s email explicitly notes that Taylor is pursuing the case in order to make it clear to the public how widespread the practice is.

Murdoch, in a note to the committee accompanying the email, suggests that he barely read the email in question before replying on his Blackberry. That is quite possibly so — though the reply seems to acknowledge that he has taken in the gist of the case — but that is neither what he earlier claimed, nor a reasonable standard to hold up for the test of “non-awareness”. Why, one would ask if one believed his claims to basic goofiness, would he not have checked his email records for the weeks leading up to his meeting with Myler and Crone, if he thought his knowledge of the email was a genuine question? Because he didn’t want to know, obviously.

Whether this will attract any sanction remains to be seen. The committee talks a mean game, but is curiously reticent to use its powers. Hopefully this latest episode of flagrant inaccuracy — deliberate or otherwise — will stir them to action.