Piers Morgan has said he has “never told anybody to hack a phone” amid an ongoing court case over alleged unlawful information gathering at the Daily Mirror.
The Duke of Sussex and other high-profile figures have brought claims of phone hacking against the titles of Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) in a seven-week trial which began on Wednesday.
Journalist and broadcaster Morgan, who was editor of the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2004, told BBC Two’s Amol Rajan Interviews: “I think phone hacking is completely wrong and shouldn’t have been happening and it was lazy journalists being lazy.
He added: “There’s no evidence I knew anything about any of this… I never told anybody to hack a phone.”
When asked about being seen as a hands-on editor, Morgan said: “I didn’t (know about hacking). So I don’t care whether it stretches people’s credulity or not.”
The 58-year-old former Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter did admit he enjoys stirring up controversy and liked when his views were seen globally.
Morgan said: “I don’t think (I’m) a narcissist. Well, I think, maybe a little bit. Maybe.
“Certainly, I’ve got a healthy ego, maybe it occasionally strays into narcissism.
“Do I like stuff to be about me? Probably. Do I like being the centre of attention? Absolutely.
“Do I love stirring up controversy and being at the centre of a debate? Yes.
“Do I like trending worldwide over my opinions? Absolutely.
“Do I like winding up the type of people that I would travel continents to avoid? Yes.”
Morgan also stated he was not sexist, transphobic or racist, adding he was “a centrist, slightly veering to the liberal left”.
He added: “Who’s starting the culture war? I don’t mind admitting I’m involved in it, and I’m waging it because I think I’m defending the rights of what I would call common sense and reality and real fairness and real equality.”
Morgan said he thinks walking off the set in 2021 after an on-air clash with GMB weather presenter Alex Beresford over the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was “a bit stupid”.
During the GMB segment, Morgan said he did not believe Meghan’s claims from the headline-making interview, with his comments sparking more than 50,000 complaints – the most in Ofcom’s history.
Morgan said: “The idea that this was motivated, certainly in my case, by any personal animosity to Meghan Markle is completely untrue. I didn’t have any. I mean I quite liked her.”
The watchdog later ruled ITV’s morning programme was not in breach of the broadcasting code over Morgan’s comments.
Watch Piers Morgan: Amol Rajan Interviews on BBC iPlayer now and on BBC Two tomorrow (11/05/23) at 7pm.
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