Piers Morgan's bio on Twitter is just one line, a quote from Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome: "One day you're the cock of the walk, the next a feather duster." The first part of that quote is a reference to the old idiom for someone who acts like he's more important than he is, and the second part is, well… it's a pretty good metaphor for the gauntlet through which Morgan's been running since the News Corp. phone hacking scandal flared up in June. The latest accusation from Heather Mills, Paul McCartney's ex-wife, that Piers Morgan listened to a voicemail obtained by hacking her phone has dealt a new round of heavy blows to the already image-battered CNN host.
Thursday morning, deputy leader of the Labour party Harriet Harman told Sky News that Morgan "has got to answer" questions about Mills's accusations and put pressure on Morgan to return to the U.K. for questioning. "Morgan … said he heard a 'heart-breaking' phone message, which clearly gives rise to the assumption that he'd heard a tape-recorded message," said Harman. Morgan has so far denied any illegal behavior during his tenure with British tabloids. (Morgan served as editor of News of the World from 1994 to 1995 when he took the top job at the Daily Mirror, a position he held until 2004.) In a statement released Thursday, Morgan called Mills's claims "unsubstantiated." But MP Harman sounds serious. Following her statement the Labour party later issued a press release repeating Harman's order:
It’s not good enough for Piers Morgan just to say he’s always stayed within the law. There are questions about what happened with Heather Mills’ phone messages that he needs to answer.
Teresa Coffey, a member of Parliament from the rival Tory party and a member of the committee investigating phone hacking, echoed Harman's call for Morgan to return to the U.K. for questioning:
I just hope that the police take the evidence and go with it and if Mr Morgan wants to come back to the UK and help them with their inquiries, and I don't mean being arrested in any way, I'm sure he can add more light.
I don't see any point in him necessarily just staying in the US and issuing statements. 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.
The beckoning from Parliament comes just days after Mark Lewis, lawyer of the victims from the News of the World phone hacking, announced that legal action was being prepared against the Trinity Mirror Group. Meanwhile, MP Tom Watson is reading Morgan's diaries and expects more revelations implicating individuals outside of News Corp.