HACKGATE DAY 198: Does Piers long for those days when he really was The Insider?

Morgan’s narrow escape from insider trading charges is yet another cloud from his dubious past

It occurred to me last night that there are millions of Americans who don’t know anything like as much about Romping Arse Piers Morgan as we unlucky souls over here do. So as The Slog gets 15% of its readership from the US of A, this article is primarily targeted towards those folks. However, there may also be lots of you in the UK who, either through memory loss or being incredibly young, may not know the full story of those clouds forever hanging over Arse Rim Pong.

The irony of the title of Morgan’s first book is that, at one point in 2005, he was very much accused of being an insider. James Hipwell (the man who last week told the Independent that the idea of Morgan having “never knowingly published a story based on phone-hacking” was “inconceivable”) has been made to look ‘dodgy’ as a witness is his former employer’s tweets – the very same Piers Morgan. This is because in 2006, the whistleblower Hipwell was convicted of tipping shares in his Mirror column, while also buying them. (The offences occurred in 2000, for which Hipwell was fired).

As usual, however, Moron’s stance on this is very misleading. And tends to leave his own role in the scandal out.

For when he was Mirror editor, Piers Morgan “encouraged” his City columnists to buy and sell shares themselves, James Hipwell claimed in court at the time.  The share tipster said he had been “very open” about his own share dealings and that no one at the paper had ever suggested he was doing anything wrong. Asked under oath whether Mr Morgan knew what he was doing, Mr Hipwell replied: “Yes, he did. I made no secret that was what I did, I was encouraged to do so.” In fact, Hipwell told the jury that his former editor Morgan had used the analogy of someone who had “never been in a car trying to teach someone else to drive” as his rationale for why the paper’s City tipsters should trade in shares themselves.

When the MGN high-ups found out what was going on, Hipwell was given the boot: but as you’d expect of the MGN management, the police were not called in. More grubby stuff  then came to light. Morgan was dragged into the scandal because he had bought £20,000 of shares in Viglen, a technology company owned by Sir Alan Sugar, one day before it was tipped by the Hipwell column. His shares doubled in value when the company announced it was moving to set up an internet business. Morgan insisted that this – let’s not beat about the bush here – insider trading – was “a coincidence”. As a defence, it’s right up there with Newscorp phones accidentally going off in pockets 37 times….and then accessing celeb voicemails. But astonishingly, an internal MGN ‘inquiry’ cleared Morgan of any wrong doing.

The Daily Mirror was then quite rightly accused of a harbouring a “cavalier culture” by the Press Complaints Commission, following which CNN host Piers Morgan, upright defender of his innocence against the groundless attacks of lying smearers, was forced to apologise.

What I’d like Piers to do now is tell us all this:

1. If he was innocent, why did he apologise to the PCC?

2. Did he ever contest Hipwell’s evidence? I can’t find anything saying he did: but if he didn’t, why not?

3. How come – as with the now arrested and charged Andy Coulson – everyone saw and heard Piers doing one thing, but he and he alone insists another thing happened…or it’s all made up? He serenaded the Mirror newsroom using facts that could only have come from hacking Paul McCartney’s phone. He was Mirror editor when Amanda Holden was tipped off that her phone was being hacked by the Mirror. He paced up and down the newsroom 24/7, avidly looking at everyone’s activities and stories; hacking was rife at the time, but he didn’t see any of it, and he definitely never used any of it. But on Radio 4 two years ago, he said he did.

Morgan’s encouragement of James Hipwell led to him going to jail. But Piers never lifted a finger to help him, even though (if the allegations was true) he was insider trading more criminally than Hipwell. Somehow, he wriggled away from an insider trading charge….yet now rips Hipwell as ‘a jailbird’.

Such a lovely bloke, eh? You know, sometimes you can pinpoint an arsehole by his actions and statements. And quite often, by the company he keeps. This is Piers with one of his great buddies only a few years back:

Yes, it’s the utterly depraved former Newscorp CEO Rebekah Brooks. Yesterday here in the UK, it emerged that Brooks had given a mobile phone to the mother of murdered kiddy Sarah Payne “as a gift”….and then hacked it. You think she can’t go any lower than that? Wait until the civil cases start coming through before Justice Vos: the evidence of her direct use of, and commissioning of, phone-hack stings is enormous and damning.

But there’s more than guilt by association involved in my bringing this to your attention, oh American cousins and favourite allies: for when Piers was editor of The News of the World in the 1990s, a young cub reporter was his assistant for much of the time, and talks fondly of all the tricks learned at Morgan’s knee. Her name? Why, none other than Rebekah Brooks.

CNN beware: if you want a piece of devious low-life anchoring your CNN chat slot, then give Piers your unwavering support. Morgan can smear his critics as liars, drunks, druggies and jailbirds,  but he can’t smear The Slog or Private Eye….neither of whom he has tweeted against.

The reason is simple: we’re telling the truth, and he knows it. Piers Morgan is toast, trust me: half a dozen entirely respectable journalists are, as I speak, following up leads on Piers’ use of illegality to get tabloid stories. They’re finding more and more formerly scared folks now happy to talk. The Lord Leveson Press Inquiry starts very soon, and the Chairman has made clear his determination to find every hacker in town. There is no way Piers Morgan can come out of that squeaky clean – or anything like it.

You read it here first.

Follow the full story at The End of the Piers Show

Footnote: UK blogger Guido Fawkes continues to ignore The Slog’s exclusive on Amanda Holden’s phone being hacked during Piers Moron’s watch as Mirror editor. One wonders why.