Lawmakers: Piers Morgan should discuss hacking - KMOV.com

Lawmakers: Piers Morgan should discuss hacking

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Piers Morgan arrives for the Magenta Carpet at the NBA basketball All-Star Game, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles) By Matt Sayles Piers Morgan arrives for the Magenta Carpet at the NBA basketball All-Star Game, Sunday, Feb. 20, 2011, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Matt Sayles) By Matt Sayles
Piers Morgan arrives for the Perfumania party celebrating the appearance of Kim Kardashian on the reality show "The Apprentice", Wednesday, Nov.10, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano) By Louis Lanzano Piers Morgan arrives for the Perfumania party celebrating the appearance of Kim Kardashian on the reality show "The Apprentice", Wednesday, Nov.10, 2010, in New York. (AP Photo/ Louis Lanzano) By Louis Lanzano

LONDON (AP) -- CNN's star interviewer Piers Morgan, a former tabloid newspaper editor, faced calls Thursday to return to Britain to explain what he knows about the country's phone hacking scandal -- though a key Parliamentary committee said it won't formally demand that he testify.

Heather Mills, the ex-wife of Paul McCartney, on Wednesday accused newspaper group Trinity Mirror PLC of accessing her voicemail messages in 2001 -- an allegation that threatens to widen the scope of the hacking inquiries beyond Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. group and its now shuttered News of the World.

Mills told the BBC that a senior Trinity Mirror journalist -- though not Morgan -- had acknowledged that her voicemail had been accessed and quoted to her a message left by McCartney after the couple had argued. She has not disclosed which of the group's newspapers she alleges carried out the hacking.

Morgan -- who has described Mills' claim as unsubstantiated -- made light of the situation Thursday, saying on Twitter that he found it "so heartwarming that everyone in U.K.'s missing me so much they want me to come home."

Morgan edited the company's flagship tabloid, the Daily Mirror, between 1995 and 2004, and has repeatedly denied having ordered phone hacking or running stories based on intercepted voicemails.

However, Morgan's opponents point to a 2006 article in which he claims to have been played a tape of a message McCartney had left on Mills' cell phone.

"It was heartbreaking," Morgan wrote in the Daily Mail. "He sounded lonely, miserable and desperate, and even sang 'We Can Work It Out' into the answerphone."

Mills' office said in a statement Thursday that the 43-year-old "looks forward to receiving Piers Morgan's answer as to how he knew the content of her private voicemail messages."

Labour Party deputy leader Harriet Harman also said Morgan had questions to answer over the extent of phone hacking within Britain's media industry.

"The public rightly expects that we will get to the bottom of phone hacking. That's why it is so important that the police investigation looks at all the evidence and leaves no stone unturned," Harman said.

John Whittingdale, chairman of Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport committee, which has examined Britain's phone-hacking scandal, said Morgan should return to the U.K. to answer questions -- but not from his panel of lawmakers.

He said the panel's remit is focused only on allegations against the News of the World, but that a police inquiry into hacking may be interested to hear from Morgan. "Certainly if there is evidence implicating other newspapers then that needs to be part of that investigation," Whittingdale told Sky News.

Conservative legislator Therese Coffey, a member of Whittingdale's committee, also urged Morgan to return. "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," she told the BBC's Newsnight program on Wednesday.

 

 

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