Piers Morgan said he “never told anyone to hack a phone” amid an ongoing court case over alleged illegal data collection at the Daily Mirror.
Britain’s Prince Harry and other senior figures have raised claims of phone hacking attacks on Mirror Group Newspapers (MGN) titles in a seven-week trial that began on Wednesday.
Journalist and broadcaster Morgan, who was editor of the Daily Mirror between 1995 and 2004, told BBC Two: “I think the phone hacking was completely wrong and shouldn’t have happened, and lazy journalists were lazy.
He added: “There is no evidence that I knew anything about this… I never told anyone to hack a phone.”
When asked if he was seen as a hands-on editor, Morgan said, “I didn’t (know about hacking). So I don’t care if it stretches people’s credulity or not.”
The 58-year-old former Good Morning Britain (GMB) presenter did admit that he likes to stir up controversy and likes his views to be seen on a global scale.
Morgan said: “I don’t think (I’m) a narcissist. Well, I think maybe a little. Perhaps.
“Of course, I have a healthy ego, perhaps occasionally veering into narcissism.
“Do I like to stir up arguments and be at the center of a debate? Yes
“Do I like to go around the world for my opinions? Absolutely.
“Do I like meeting the kind of people I would travel continents to avoid? Yes.”
Morgan also stated that he is not sexist, transphobic or racist, adding that he is “a centrist with a slight leaning towards the liberal left”.
He added: “Who starts the culture war? I don’t mind admitting that I’m involved in it and I’m running it because I think I’m defending the rights of what I would call common sense and reality, real justice and real equality.
Morgan said she thought leaving the set in 2021 after an on-air clash with GMB weather presenter Alex Beresford over Harry and his wife Meghan’s interview with Oprah Winfrey was “a bit silly”.
During the GMB segment, Morgan said he did not believe Meghan’s claims from the headline-making interview, with his comments prompting more than 50,000 complaints – the most in Ofcom’s history.
Morgan said: “The idea that this is motivated, certainly in my case, by some personal animosity towards Meghan Markle is completely false. I didn’t have any. I mean I really liked her.
The watchdog later ruled that the ITV morning program was not in breach of the broadcasting code over Morgan’s comments.