He told the hearing he felt “like a rock star having an album brought out from his back catalogue of all his worst-ever hits”.
The newspaper editor turned CNN chat show host denied that he had illegally listened to the voicemail of Paul McCartney’s ex, Heather Mills, claiming that he had heard a taped version of the message from a legitimate source.
Morgan also denied telling Ulrika Jonsson that she should change her voicemail pin after her phone was allegedly hacked when she began an affair with England manager Sven Goran.
In what was a sometimes touchy and defensive exchange, Morgan spoke via videolink from the US. Key to questioning were allegations that Heather Millls’ phone was hacked, based on an article Morgan wrote for the Daily Mail in 2006.
In the article, Morgan described a phone message left by the former Beatle on Mills’ answering machine in which McCartney sang We Can Work It Out and pleased with his wife to come home.
However, Morgan told the Leveson Inquiry a tape of the message had been played to him by an unnamed source.
“I don’t think it was unethical,” he said, but refused to reveal who had given him the tape.
“I can’t go into details of the message without compromising my source,” Morgan said. “I’m not going to discuss where I heard it or who played it to me.”
Lord Justice Brian Leveson replied that only Mills or someone authorised by her would lawfully be able to listen to it and added that he was happy to call Mills to give evidence.
Morgan was also asked if he remembered a Daily Mirror event in 2002 when he told Ulrika Jonsson to change the PIN code on her mobile phone.
This Morgan denied, calling claims that Jonsson’s phone was hacked “absolute nonsense”.
When asked about privacy, Morgan said that celebrities “are the very last people who should be protected by privacy law.”
“I have very little sympathy with celebrities who sell their weddings for a million pounds – one of the most private days of their lives – and then expect to have privacy if they get caught having affairs,” he said.