Parliament announces probe into Murdoch foam attack

20th July 2011, Comments 0 comments

The speaker of Britain's House of Commons on Wednesday announced a probe into the foam-pie attack on Rupert Murdoch at a parliamentary committee hearing, saying it was "wholly unacceptable".

Speaker John Bercow said it would look into the security failure that allowed Tuesday's attack, which happened as the News Corporation chairman and chief executive was giving evidence to lawmakers on the phone hacking scandal.

Announcing the inquiry, Bercow told parliament he had been "very concerned" at the incident.

"It is wholly unacceptable for a member of the public to treat -- and to be able to treat -- a witness in this way...," he added.

"This investigation will be entirely independent of the House authorities."

During Tuesday's hearing in Portcullis House, opposite the Houses of Parliament, a man sprang up from the public gallery and tried to slap the 80-year-old Murdoch in the face with a plate of shaving foam.

The media baron's 42-year-old wife, Wendi Deng, grappled with him before the sole policeman in the room got to him and arrested him.

Murdoch and his son James were being questioned by British lawmakers on the phone-hacking scandal at his News of the World title, an affair that has drawn in Britain's press, politicians and police.

Activist and comedian Jonathan May-Bowles, 26, who goes by his stage name Jonnie Marbles, was charged Wednesday with a public order offence.

Police said he was bailed to appear at London's City of Westminster Magistrates' Court on July 29.

May-Bowles was a member of the opposition Labour party, but a party spokesman said: "It was despicable behaviour and he has been immediately suspended."

© 2011 AFP

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