As the Murdochs face tough questions over phone hacking from a panel of MPs, Channel 4 News profiles the committee members, including Rupert Murdoch's "tormentor in chief", Tom Watson.

Profiles of the British MPs who will be grilling Rupert and James Murdoch, and Rebekah Brooks at the Select Committee

Mr John Whittingdale (Chair), Conservative

Chairman since 2005, Mr Whittingdale is determined the Committee hearing will not be a "lynch mob" but a chance to "uncover the truth".

The Tory MP (above right) led the Committee's first investigation into the phone-hacking affair in 2009, but later said he did not believe they had been told the truth, or if the witnesses actually knew any more than what they were saying.

Last year, he rejected allegations that he advised MPs on the Committee not to force Rebekah Brooks to give evidence for fears of backlash from News International newspapers. He told Channel 4 News at the time that being targeted by NI had no bearing on his decision over the company's "Sergeant at Arms".

I have 570 friends on Facebook. Whether or not Rebekah Brooks is still one of them, I rather doubt it, since I have summoned her to appear before me. John Whittingdale

It emerged this week that Mr Whittingdale is friends on Facebook with the "Sergeant", Ms Brooks, as well as Les Hinton, Rupert Murdoch's former right hand man.

Brushing off criticism over the connections, he said: "I have 570 friends on Facebook. Whether or not Rebekah Brooks is still one of them, I rather doubt it, since I have summoned her to appear before me. I have been doing the culture, media and sport brief in one capacity or another for 10 years."

An NM Rothschild banker in his youth and political secretary to Margaret Thatcher later, John Whittingdale describes the latter as an "extraordinary experience" and his proudest political moment.

Mr Tom Watson, Labour

The Labour MP's relentless pursuit of News International in the phone hacking scandal has earned him the moniker "Rupert Murdoch's tormentor in chief".

The Labour MP's relentless pursuit of News International in the phone hacking scandal has earned him the moniker "Rupert Murdoch's tormentor in chief".

Now the hero of the drama, his war with NI began in 2006 when he resigned as a junior minister after staging a coup with other colleagues against Tony Blair.

The move made Mr Watson (above left) an enemy of Rebekah Brookes, he claims. “I was told then that Rebekah…would never forgive me for what I did to her Tony. They said she would pursue me for the rest of my life. She did, they have, I can tell you from personal experience it’s not very nice,” he said last month.

Mr Watson has earned respect for his lone war against the Murdochs. David Mellor said today: "Tom Watson… has been very brave. It is all very well to kick the Murdochs when they are down, but he started the process when the Murdochs were perfectly capable of lining up media power against him."

Mr Watson told MPs recently there was "no escape now for News International".

Mr Adrian Sanders, Liberal Democrat

The Committee's only Liberal Democrat MP, Adrian Sanders was one of the first to call for a full judicial inquiry into the hacking scandal and has been one of the more outspoken figures in the last few weeks.

The former aide to Paddy Ashdown has thrown the net beyond News International, claiming that the phone hacking allegations extended to "other newspapers".

Sanders has described the Press Complaints Commission as a "chocolate teapot" and a "fishnet condom"

He told the House of Commons: "We need to extend this beyond News International", adding that "it was the Daily Mail that was the most prolific in the trade of illicit personal information, while the Mirror under the auspices of Piers Morgan is suspected for example of using voicemail interception to reveal Sven Goran Eriksson’s affair with Ulrika Jonsson."

He has described the Press Complaints Commission as a "chocolate teapot" and a "fishnet condom", adding that internal inquiries by News International made conclusions that in the past have proved "patently untrue".

Dr Thérèse Coffey, Conservative

The former finance director for Mars Drinks most recently worked for the BBC's property finance department before becoming an MP last year.

Coffey warned against a witch hunt for Rebekah Brooks. She said calls for Ms Brooks to quit were "almost a sideshow"

The chemistry graduate has said she "will be looking for light rather than heat" during the Committee hearing. Dr Coffey promised some "robust questioning… on behalf of the nation".

Earlier this month she warned against a witch hunt for Rebekah Brooks. Calls for Ms Brooks to quit were "almost a sideshow", she said, adding that the scandal was "not unique to one news group".

Mr Damian Collins, Conservative

Damian Collins became an MP last year after a career in advertising and communications with M&C Saatchi. He has said he is hoping to get some "straight answers to some straight questions". He has not been vociferous on the phone-hacking scandal, but last week he said "the media should be free from political interference but not above the law".

Mr Philip Davies, Conservative

The former Asda marketing executive has described the evidence given by News International to date as "an absolute farce". The outspoken Tory MP opposes David Cameron's views on the EU and has called for the resignation of Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke.

Mr Paul Farrelly, Labour

The Labour MP is gunning for answers from James Murdoch, who he says knew that Parliament had not been told the truth previously.

Farrelly has said he will ask Murdoch to "amplify the statements that were made when closing the News of the World". A former financial journalist with the Independent on Sunday and the Observer, Farrelly is a tough nut who promises to ask the "awkward questions".

Mr Alan Keen, Labour Co-operative

Alan and his wife Ann, a former MP, featured prominently in the expenses scandal as "Mr and Mrs Expenses" over the use of their second home allowance.

He has kept his opinions on phone hacking largely to himself, saying that it is the evidence given to the committee that is important, "not the opinions of the MPs".

MRs Louise Mensch, Conservative

Tory MP and chick-lit author Louise Mensch (above, middle picture) is expected to stay close to John Whittingdale and the party line. Upon Ms Brooks's resignation she said: "As my chairman (John Whittingdale) said, there are still questions to be answer".

I'm interested to hear how they relate to other newspapers that she (Brooks) has knowledge of. Louise Mensch

However, she has also indicated that suspicion lies beyond News International. "I'm interested to hear how they relate to other newspapers that she has knowledge of," she has said.

Formerly Louise Bagshawe, she married Peter Mensch, manager of the rock band Metallica, in June.

Mr Jim Sheridan, Labour

A former trade union man, Mr Sheridan has criticised Mr Murdoch's closure of the News of the World and said today his line of questioning will be over Mr Murdoch's political influence.

"I (would) like to know what kind of relationship (Murdoch has)had with senior politicians, what influence does he think he has had... What it won't be today, as some of the leading commentators were suggesting that it will be, (is) some sort of witch-hunt of the MPs against the press. That is certainly not what it's about, we will be asking in a polite way, robust questions."

I (would) like to know what kind of relationship (Murdoch has) had with senior politicians, what influence does he think he has had. Jim Sheridan

Mr Sheridan said at the weekend that the police inquiry is far more important than any other inquiry, adding that he does not "buy into the conspiracy theories that police are doing something overhand".

While there is always a fear that the Murdochs and Ms Brooks will "stonewall" the Committee, Mr Sheridan hopes they will give answers without fear of interfering with the police inquiry.

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