FORMER BRITAIN’S Got Talent presenter Piers Morgan has been drawn further into the ongoing phone hacking scandal after a clip emerged of a 2009 interview about his time editing the Daily Mirror emerged.
Asked on the BBC’s Desert Island Discs how he felt about dealing with people who search through people’s bins, tap phones and take illicit photographs, Morgan said “not a lot of that went on”.
He added that any such activities were mostly carried out by people outside the newspaper:
A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves. That’s not to defend it – obviously we were running the results of their work.
Morgan, now a talk show host on CNN, had previously touched on the issue of phone hacking in a 2007 interview. He claimed that phone tapping was “going on at almost every paper in Fleet Street for years”, the Telegraph reports. He has since denied any involvement in phone hacking.
At the weekend, former Daily Mirror columnist James Hipwell claimed the practice was “endemic” during Morgan’s time as editor.
At a British parliamentary committee hearing about the phone hacking, MP Louise Mensch questioned Morgan’s comments about phone hacking, prompting Morgan to respond angrily to the allegations during a CNN interview:
He also later directed a number of angry messages via Twitter to the MP.
Earlier today, Morgan tweeted:
I’ll be making no further comment on this#Hackgate nonsense. But important for everyone to know exactly who these lying smearers are.
Yesterday, the Daily Mirror’s owner the Trinity Mirror group announced it would launch a review of its editorial procedures following the News of the World scandal. The NOTW, owned by rival newspaper group News International, was shut down after allegations it was involved in the suspected phone hacking of the families of terror attack and murder victims.
Separate public and police inquiries are investigating the allegations.
News International’s parent company News Corporation met government ministers 130 times in 14 months – an average of every three days – since Britain’s coalition goverment was formed, according to the Telegraph.
While Prime Minister David Cameron was involved in over a quarter of the meetings, other senior political figures who met with News Corp executives include Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne and Defence Secretary Liam Fox.
Opposition MPs have called on the government to explain the meetings with the news group, particularly as some came just two weeks before a regulatory ruling on the company’s proposed takeover of BSkyB.
News Corp dropped its bid for the satellite broadcaster after political pressure arising from the hacking allegations.