There is a very good reason that former Screws and Daily Mirror editor Piers Morgan wastes no opportunity to denigrate anyone and everyone connected to press regulation campaigners Hacked Off - as we saw when he tried to shout down Evan Harris and had, not for the first time, to be rescued by co-host Susanna Reid. It is because he does not want anyone to talk about him, and phone hacking, in the same context.
Hugh Grant - donated his award to Hacked Off
But Hacked Off do talk about Morgan and phone hacking in the same context, as do their supporters, people such as, er, me. While some of the more outlandish claims made against Morgan - the Mirror didn’t get the Sven and Ulrika-ka-ka-ka story through hacking, despite the entreaties of the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines - can’t be made to stick, it is true that the Daily Mirror indulged in hacking while he was in the editor’s chair.
Jacqui Hames at the Leveson Inquiry - she has secured a belated admission from the Murdoch press
And this morning, outside the High Court, after actor and campaigner Hugh Grant had popped inside to collect a reputed six-figure sum in damages from the Mirror’s publishers (as you do), he made a statement which once again will cause significant discomfort to Morgan, as well as his pals in the press establishment. This is what he had to say.
“It is clear from the evidence in this litigation so far that Ms [Tina] Weaver. and Messrs [Richard] Wallace, [Mark] Thomas and [James] Scott were all phone hackers themselves, and that either Piers Morgan and Neil Wallis were so incompetent as not to know the real source of scores of exclusives that they published, or were complicit in the conduct themselves”. There was more.
“This newspaper group has misled the public and its shareholders for many years. It has let down its readers and its hard-working journalists. Those journalists have paid the price for the wrongdoing of executives who have left with large payoffs, and share options. Here we have a public limited company whose executives concealed years of criminality. The public were not told the truth. The victims were not told the truth. The shareholders were not told the truth. The Leveson Inquiry was not told the truth”. And more.
Piers Morgan appearing at the Leveson Inquiry
“That is why the second part of the Leveson Inquiry must now take place without delay. This second part was promised by a previous [mainly] Conservative Government and is now being disgracefully delayed by a weak Prime Minister who takes her orders from the same newspaper groups that admitted culpability today”. Ouch!
We now need Part 2 of this ...
Also today, former Police officer and Crimewatch co-presenter Jacqui Hames secured an admission of surveillance and hacking by the Murdoch press, many years after she and her then husband Dave Cook had their lives seriously disrupted because Cook was leading an investigation into the Daniel Morgan murder in which the late and not at all lamented Screws was implicated. This will also not receive saturation press coverage.
... and these campaigners are determined to get it
Neither of these campaigners will feature on Good Morning Britain any time soon - at least, not when Piers Morgan is in the studio. Which begs the question - if he had nothing to do with phone hacking and the rest of The Dark Arts, why is he on a hair trigger whenever anyone mentions it? And why won’t he debate with the victims, rather than ignore them?