Tory MP Louise Mensch apologises to Piers Morgan

By Phil Scullion

Louise Mensch has apologised to Piers Morgan over incorrect phone-hacking allegations, after admitting separately that she had "probably" taken drugs in the 90s.

The Conservative backbencher acknowledged that she had "wrongly" stated Mr Morgan, a former Daily Mirror editor, had been open about hacking phones in a book he wrote.

Ms Mensch made the claims during last week's culture, media and sport committee hearing featuring Rupert and James Murdoch and Rebekah Brooks.

What followed was a high-profile spat on Twitter and an explosive CNN news interview where Ms Mensch refused Mr Morgan's calls for her to repeat the allegations without the shield of parliamentary privilege.

Mr Morgan, now a CNN broadcaster, challenged her to "show some balls" and "repeat what you said about me."

In her retraction letter sent to committee chair John Whittingdale Ms Mensch said she had "misread" a Daily Telegraph article on Mr Morgan's involvement in the scandal.

"This was based on my misreading of an article in the Daily Telegraph published on the 13th July, which covered Mr Morgan's description in his book of how to hack a phone and how he won the Scoop of the Year on the story of Sven-Goran Eriksson and Ulrika Johnson," she explained.

"The Telegraph report covers the claim of a blogger that this story was acquired by phone hacking, and I misread that as Mr Morgan himself claiming this to be true."

However she added: "I welcome the review announced by Trinity Mirror into practises in its newsroom."

The news is part of a busy day for Ms Mensch, after she earlier admitted "probably" taking drugs following allegations from an investigative journalist.

Ms Mensch was responding to claims that she had taken drugs while working for music label EMI during the 1990s.

The rising star within the Conservative party said: "Although I do not remember the specific incident, this sounds highly probable."

She described her actions as "idiotic" but added that "it was not the only incident".

Ms Mensch, formerly known as Ms Bagshawe, was a successful 'chick lit' author before entering parliament at the 2010 general election.

It is unclear who the investigative journalist David Jones was working for when he put the questions to Ms Mensch.

He said he possesses photographs of Ms Mensch at Ronnie Scott's in Birmingham where the alleged drug taking took place, along with pictures of her drunkenly dancing.

Ms Mensh added: "I am not a very good dancer and must apologise to any and all journalists who were forced to watch me dance that night at Ronnie Scott's."

Mr Jones also alleged that Ms Mensch was fired from her job at EMI due to her writing a novel of a sexual nature during working hours.

However Ms Mensch refuted this claim, she said: "It was all done after work hours. It was also not why I was fired by EMI."

She continued that the reasons quoted for her sacking were "leaving work early", "missing the odd day" and "inappropriate dress".

A number of MPs commented on Ms Mensch's response to Mr Jones via Twitter.

Tom Watson, fellow culture, media and sport committee member, described it as "quality", and Chris Bryant called her response "brilliant".

Wife of the Speaker of the House Sally Bercow hailed Ms Mensch for providing a "cracking" and "fearless" answer to an investigative journalist.