Panorama presenter Jeremy Paxman has told officials at the Leveson Inquiry that chat show host – and former newspaper editor – Piers Morgan told him how to hack into someone’s mobile phone voicemail messages.
The Inquiry committee is of course examining press standards in the wake of revelations made about The News of the World allegedly hacking into, and using, private messages intended for politicians and celebrities.
During his evidence, Paxman also claimed that Morgan had ridiculed TV star Ulrika Jonsson over her affair with football boss Sven-Göran Eriksson.
Paxman said of Morgan, “He turned to me and said: ‘Have you got a mobile phone?’ I said yes and he asked if there was a security setting on the message bit of it.
“I didn’t know what he was talking about…
“He then explained the way to get access to people’s messages was to go to the factory default setting and press either 0000 or 1234 and that if you didn’t put on your own code, his words: ‘You’re a fool.’ ”
And of what Morgan had allegedly said about Ulrika and Sven, Paxman said he’d put on “a rather bad parody” of the former England boss’s accent.
He added, “I didn’t like it. Mr Morgan was teasing Ulrika that he knew what had happened in a conversation between her and Sven-Göran Eriksson.
“I don’t know if he was repeating a conversation he had heard or he was imagining this conversation.
“I don’t know if he was making this up, making up the conversation, but it was clearly something he was familiar with and I wasn’t.
“I didn’t know that this went on.”
Last night, Morgan hit back at what Paxman had to say, tweeting, “Right – that’s the last time I’m inviting Jeremy Paxman to lunch. Ungrateful little wretch.”
In the meantime, a spokesman for the Leveson committee made no comment as to whether Piers Morgan would be recalled to give further evidence or answer more questions.