Piers Morgan asked to explain phone hacking comments

Morgan has been asked to explain phone hacking comments he made in 2006 after Heather Mills said her phone was targeted by the Daily Mirror

Former editor of the Daily Mirror, Piers Morgan, has been urged to return to Britain to help answer questions over claims a journalist from his paper hacked the phone messages of Heather Mills.

Tory MP Therese Coffey has advised him to return to the UK to explain an article written in 2006 where he claimed to have listened to a voice message.

Harriet Harman showed her party’s tougher public stance on the matter, declaring: ‘He’s got to answer now’. She believes that comments Morgan made five years ‘give rise to the assumption he heard a tape recorded message,’ she said.

These statements come after ex-wife of Paul McCartney, Heather Mills, alleged that a Mirror reporter admitted hacking her phone while she was in a relationship with the former Beatle.

The supposed incident occurred after McCartney left a conciliatory message on his wife’s voicemail following an argument.

Mills then says that she was approached by a senior journalist soon after, quoting verbatim her messages from her machine. She then confronted the reporter and threatened to go to police, which prompted him to admit he had listened to her messages. He then promised not to run the story.

The 43-year-old has confirmed that the guilty journalist was not current CNN presenter Piers Morgan. However, it is thought that this is the same message that Morgan admitted having listened to five years ago.

In 2006, Morgan quoted in the Daily Mail that he had heard a message that Sir Paul had left for his wife. ‘At one stage I was played a tape of a message Paul had left Heather on her mobile phone,’ he wrote.

Now Mills is arguing that ‘There was absolutely no honest way that Piers Morgan could have obtained that tape that he has so proudly bragged about – unless they had gone into my voice messages.’

Morgan, however, who was the Mirror’s editor between 1995 and 2004, has consistently denied any involvement in phone hacking. ‘Heather Mills has made unsubstantiated claims about a conversation she may or may not have had with a senior executive from a Trinity Mirror newspaper in 2001,’ he said in a statement through CNN.

‘To reiterate, I have never hacked a phone, told anyone to hack a phone, nor to my knowledge published any story obtained from the hacking of a phone.’

A Trinity Mirror spokesperson also added: ‘Our position is clear. All our journalists work within the criminal law and the PCC code of conduct.’

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