One conclusion from Phonehackgate that those across the political spectrum can draw is that politicians mostly called it too late. Even after the Guardian first called out Rupe and his troops in July 2009, Young Dave continued to employ Andy Coulson, Pa Broon tried almost to the end to keep the Murdoch press on side, and both sides of the House were well represented at Rupe’s parties.
Indeed, it was only when the last bus of the day was about to depart that Parliament finally decided to throw the Murdochs, along with full supporting cast, under it. As a result, neither Cameron nor Mil The Younger emerged with maximum credit, though Corporal Clegg for the Lib Dems, along with the redoubtable Paddy Ashdown, scored rather better.
This should be borne in mind when studying the reaction of both Tory and Labour politicians to the possibility that the Daily and Sunday Mirror were indulging in phone hacking: the desire to get out in front of the game this time is proving too much for some, such as Tory MP Therese Coffey, who sits on the Commons culture committee. She suggests that the appalling Piers Morgan appear before them.
Sadly, Ms Coffey does not say what purpose may be served by returning Morgan to the UK, except that this somehow would “add more light”. And she is not alone: fellow committee member Jim Sheridan also wants Morgan to appear. And Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman says the former Mirror editor has “questions to answer”, although what those questions are is not told.
Maybe the Police would invite Morgan in for a chat? Sadly, not yet: Heather Mills, the source of the latest allegations against the Mirror, has apparently not made a complaint to them, or instructed lawyers, and as I noted earlier, Morgan has already inferred she is actually the source of the voicemail he was played. There’s little point summoning Morgan just because it’s politicians’ flavour of the month to do so.
And in any case, John Whittingdale, who chairs the Commons culture committee, has said there are no plans to invite Morgan to testify before them. In the meantime, anyone who believes that CNN’s 9pm Eastern weekday host should get guilty should forget the scattergun approach and remember how much hard work was put in by Nick Davies and the Guardian team. Time, once more, for some proper research.