Piers Morgan should answer questions on hacking: British MP

4th August 2011, Comments 0 comments

A senior British lawmaker Thursday called on CNN chat show host Piers Morgan to return home to answer questions about phone hacking, after new allegations involving a newspaper he used to edit.

John Whittingdale, the Conservative chairman of the parliamentary media committee which quizzed Rupert Murdoch last month over hacking, said Morgan had some "very serious questions to answer".

He was speaking after Heather Mills, the ex-wife of Paul McCartney, claimed on a BBC TV programme that a senior journalist at the Mirror Group of newspapers admitted in 2001 to hacking her voicemail.

The BBC declined to name the journalist but said it was not Morgan, who was editor of the group's flagship Daily Mirror newspaper at the time.

However, Morgan had reportedly admitted in a 2006 newspaper column to have been played a voicemail message left by McCartney for Mills.

"I would like to see Mr Morgan come back to this country and answer what are some very serious questions," Whittingdale told BBC News 24, although he said his committee did not have the power to compel Morgan to return to Britain.

Whittingdale added: "I hope he will return to the UK and I imagine that there will be some questions which will be put to him, possibly by the police on the basis of the evidence that has emerged."

Morgan, who is now based in New York and Los Angeles as a celebrity talk show host for US network CNN, shrugged off the call, saying in a Twitter message Thursday: "So heart-warming that everyone in UK's missing me so much they want me to come home.#swoon."

In a statement Wednesday, he dismissed Mills's claims as "unsubstantiated" and said the BBC had informed him that the journalist she had identified was not employed by the Daily Mirror.

And he stressed: "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."

Before Morgan edited the Daily Mirror, he was editor of the News of the World, the scandal-hit tabloid closed by Murdoch last month amid public outrage over hacking by its journalists.

© 2011 AFP

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