Mirror Publisher Sly Bailey Says MP Mensch Made False Hacking Claims

Since the News of the World hacking scandal broke a couple of weeks ago, several figures, like Prime Minister David Cameron, have taken pains to emphasize how it’s not just one tabloid that is guilty of the practice. But now we are starting to see the signs of those others taking a stand in making sure their names are not tarred with the same brush. Today, it emerged that Sly Bailey, the CEO of Trinity Mirror (LSE: TNI) (pictured), has written to the chairman of the Commons Culture Media and Sport Committee, John Whittingdale, to complain about how one of the other MPs, Louise Mensch, accused the Mirror of doing the same thing, calling the claims “erroneous” and “inaccurate.”

The letter written by Bailey was first revealed by Sky.com. We have contacted Trinity Mirror, who confirmed that the letter was sent today, and that the wording quoted on Sky was correct.

It refers to comments made by Mensch during her interrogation of James and Rupert Murdoch. At one point, she cites a passage from The Insider, a book by Piers Morgan, who edited another tabloid, the Mirror, between 1995 and 2004. In the passage, he describes how easy it is to listen to another person’s email if that person doesn’t set a security code. Mensch, however, mis-quoted it and effectively said he admitted to hacking phones.

Morgan has flat-out denied being involved in any phone hacking while he was at the Mirror and before that at the News of the World, which he edited prior to his time at the Mirror. He confronted Mensch on CNN after Tuesday’s hearing, refuting her claims point blank and then some. Paul Dacre, the editor of The Mail, has also denied any involvement with hacking.

Bailey’s letter says the comments could cause “serious reputational damage” if Mensch does not correct what she said, particularly because it came not from a competitor, but from the theoretically impartial Committee.

That does not necessarily mean that Trinity Mirror is weighing up legal action over the claims. “It’s just a letter at this point,” said the spokesperson from Trinity Mirror. “That’s all we have to say on it.”

In any case, the task force that has been set up by David Cameron is due to investigate all the newspapers for these practices. Barring the wholesale dumping of evidence, hopefully the truth will out, one way or the other.