PIERS Morgan can be seen telling Charlotte Church how "a spate of stories" came out as a result of journalists hacking mobile phones in video footage to be broadcast on Channel 4 tonight.
The footage dates from 2003 when the then 17-year-old singer Church interviewed Morgan following an address by her at the Oxford Union where she called for privacy laws for under 18s.
Morgan said: “When [mobile phones] first came out journalists found out that if a celebrity hadn’t changed their pin code…” Church interrupts: “Yeah, that you can access their voicemails.”
He said: “You can access their voicemails by typing in a number. Now, are you really telling me that journalists aren’t going to do that? If they know that they can ring up Charlotte Church’s mobile phone, listen to all her messages?”
Former Daily Mirror editor Morgan has always denied involvement of and knowledge of phone hacking at the newspaper.
In the video he told Church: “Right, now, all you have to do – and I know that celebrities don’t like having to do anything for themselves, is actually change your security number.”
The footage will be broadcast as part of Taking on the Tabloids, a documentary fronted by Hugh Grant, who like Church, has been a vocal campaigner for press regulation and made a prominent appearance at the Leveson Inquiry.
In response to the programme Morgan told The Independent: "As I wrote in my book, The Insider, and as I reiterated at the Leveson Inquiry, I was warned in 2001 about the practice of phone-hacking, after a series of stories about me appeared in the press relating to a DTI share-tipping investigation and I couldn't work out where they had come from. I passed on that warning to others."
Speaking at the Leveson Inquiry in May Jeremy Paxman claimed that Morgan taught him how to hack into peoples’ voicemails.
Paxman, the BBC Newsnight anchor, said Morgan effectively gave him a lesson in how to listen to a person's messages over a lunch with former Mirror chairman Sir Victor Blank, retail billionaire Sir Philip Green and television presenter Ulrika Jonsson, at Mirror Group's offices in Canary Wharf in 2002.
Paxman described Morgan’s tone as “bullying” and said then Mirror editor turned to him and asked: "Have you got a mobile phone?" Having said he did, Mr Morgan then asked about the "security setting on the message bit" before explaining there was a way to access people's messages by going to the "factory default setting".
In February Church and her parents settled phone hacking claims against News International for £600,000. In August Grant added his name to a long list of celebrities suing Rupert Murdoch’s NI over phone hacking.
Taking on the Tabloids is tonight at 8pm on Channel 4
Independent News Service