The Chairman of the Culture Media and Sport Select Committee John Wittingdale has added to the pressure on Morgan:
“Teresa Coffey said he should come back to this country to answer questions and I think that is absolutely right. He certainly should.”
When your denials just don’t cut it, what would you do to handle the crisis? Probably not use the same tactic Morgan has deployed:
Guido’s not sure Morgan will get the last laugh…
As one of their most ardent cheerleaders in government and close personal friend of Gordon Brown, Piers Morgan might have thought he would be safe with his old red chums.
Tory Therese Coffey landed the CNN star in a whole host of trouble on Newsnight last night:
“I just hope that the police take the evidence and go with it and if Mr Morgan wants to come back to the UK and help them with their inquiries, and I don’t mean being arrested in any way, I’m sure he can add more light… I think it would help everybody, including himself and this investigation, if he was able to say more about why he wrote what he did in 2006.”
And now with this morning’s intervention from Labour’s Deputy Leader Harriet Harman Morgan’s denials are looking even weaker:
“[Morgan] said he heard a heartbreaking phone message which clearly gives rise to the assumption that he’d heard a tape recorded message. It’s not good enough fro him to say I’ve always complied with the law and the press complaints commission. He’s got to answer now we’ve got this allegation from Heather Mills.”
Piers is running out of friends fast…
The BBC’s Newsnight current affairs flagship show will tonight broadcast confirmation from Heather Mills of Guido’s story from July 27 re-posted below:
Yet another Piers Morgan phone-hacking implication has surfaced from his own misguided boasts. Writing in the Daily Mail in 2006 when Sir Paul McCartney split from Heather Mills, Morgan went into some extremely voyeuristic detail about their relationship:
“Stories soon emerged that the marriage was in trouble – at one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left for Heather on her mobile phone. It was heartbreaking. The couple had clearly had a tiff, Heather had fled to India, and Paul was pleading with her to come back. He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang ‘We Can Work It Out’…”
Who played it to Piers? How did they get it? Did he procure the illegal interception of an electronic communication – an imprisonable offence – with a maximum two-year stretch on conviction? Looks like it to Guido.
How can Piers say he never authorised phone-hacking when he admits to listening to recordings of the voicemail of a distressed old man and his soon to be ex-wife? How can Piers say he never published anything on the back of phone hacking when he regaled this very story to the world in print under his own byline? Where was the public interest here?
It gets worse, Guido has been told Morgan played the recording out loud to the newsroom for fun. Laughing and mocking Macca’s misery.
In fact this is prima facie evidence of criminality on the part of Piers Morgan. We’re taking our dossier to the Metropolitan Police. Time for Piers Morgan to get a lawyer…
The blood is splattered across the pages of this week’s Private Eye. With an old grudge to settle, it’s no surprise to see Ian Hislop go out of his way to help out an old friend in his hour of need. The whole of the front page, the cartoons and a very special phone-hacking expose are all devoted to Morgan’s plight. Along with a round up of the story so far, and new details unearthed by mystical uncredited “bloggers”, yet another indiscreet discussion Piers Morgan had about his old paper’s dirty tricks surfaces:
So after a long lunch in September 2002, not only did Morgan regurgitate hacked phone messages to one of the victims, but he went on to lambast the Chief Exec of BT for not “providing better security pin numbers for mobile phones”. But of course Mr Morgan has never knowingly published any story from these means, he just uses his ill-gotten insider-knowledge for party pieces rather than selling papers…
The Dowler family’s omni-present solicitor Mark Lewis suggests that four cases concerning phone-hacking have been filed against the Mirror. Uh oh, Piersy…
The Wall Street Journal say that Morgan was quizzed thoroughly about his past before he got the CNN gig, though there is speculation that this had more to do with those fake-Iraqi torture photos. Sources at the network have said there is an “ongoing conversation” about the allegations that rather than disappear, keep coming. That’s a shift from full confidence…
It may be “all a bit awkward”, because they know each other socially, but that hasn’t stopped another of Sven Goran Eriksson’s lovers, Nancy Dell’Olio, from going after Morgan. LibDem MP Paul Marsden is thought to be another case. As Guido highlighted last week, Sir Paul McCartney might want to get the ball rolling too. Rumour has it Pier’s has lawyered up for what looks set to be a rough few months…
Guido has – completely legally – obtained the raw data from the British Information Commissioner’s ‘Operation Motorman’ investigation. A number crunching analysis of the data shows that between 1997 and 2003 Mirror Group newspapers were invoiced 948 times by “JJ Services”, run by Steve Whittamore, a notorious blagger who specialised in illegally obtaining personal information. For that six year period the total value of the invoices amounted to £442,878.73.
Many of these invoices are addressed to MGN Ltd, publishers of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror. Nevertheless Guido has identified at least 65 invoices, totalling £20,333.31 which are directly to the Daily Mirror. These invoices are dated between 2001 and 2002. Piers Morgan was the Editor of the Mirror throughout this period.
On Desert Island Discs Morgan told Kirsty Young that, “Not a lot of that went on. A lot of it was done by third parties, rather than the staff themselves,” adding, “That’s not to defend it, because obviously you were running the results of their work.” Almost half-a-million quid suggests that quite a lot of that went on.
The “blagging” invoices are for phone records, vehicle registration records, ex-directory numbers, to monitor mobile calls, obtain phone bills and get numbers called as well as paying off bent police officers to provide information. It could be medical records, criminal records or tax records. Blagging is a criminal offence punishable with up to two years jail time. Kate Winslet was blagged and the information was used by Piers Morgan, as he admits in his 10 April 2000 diary entry in The Insider:
“I got back to the office to learn that Kate Winslet, having indicated she would come to our Pride of Britain awards tomorrow, is now saying she can’t. Someone had got hold of her mobile number — I never like to ask how — so I rang her …. ‘Hello,’ she said, sounding a bit taken aback. ‘How did you get my number? I’ve only just changed it. You’ve got to tell me, please, I am so worried now’ ”
“Never liking to ask” is what is known legally as “willful blindness” which is when an individual seeks to avoid civil or criminal liability for a wrongful act by intentionally putting himself in a position where he will be unaware of facts which would render him liable. Or contrives to pretend such. It doesn’t work in Court because the law takes the view that it is criminally reckless to fail to find out. That in a nutshell is what Piers is, criminally reckless…
How is Miliband’s ‘New Politics’ Working Out? | Speccie
State Should Send More Poor Children Private | Sam Bowman
£1 Million Cost of Ed Balls’ Ego | Laura Perrins
William Hague’s Sausage Fest | Rochdale Online
Public Doesn’t Prioritise Housing | Mark Pack
Mysterious Case of Ruffley’s Missing Letter | Speccie
All the Single Ladies (And Lords) | Bloomberg
How Ruffley’s Resignation Became Inevitable | ConservativeHome
We Need a Recall Bill Now | Speccie
Left-Wing Anti-Semitism is Nothing New | Dan Hannan
Coe Pulls Out of BBC Trust Race | Mail
Damian McBride writes in the epilogue to his memoir…
“At the time of writing, nine months from the election, I’ve concluded that Labour currently has no positive messages to communicate to anyone about why they should vote for the party, no policies which will persuade them, and is being run in a totally dysfunctional way.”
Christie Malry @fcablog
Ed Miliband does photo oops, not photo ops