I still don't believe Meghan, says Piers Morgan after leaving job over remarks

VIDEO: REUTERS

LONDON (Reuters) - Piers Morgan, the pugnacious British presenter who has just lost his high-profile breakfast TV slot over attacks on Prince Harry's wife Meghan, said on Wednesday (March 10) he still did not believe what she had said during her Oprah Winfrey interview.

Morgan, 55, left ITV's Good Morning Britain on Tuesday after his long-running criticism of Meghan intensified in the wake of her interview with Winfrey, in which she revealed she had felt suicidal while living as a royal in Britain.

"On Monday, I said I didn't believe Meghan Markle in her Oprah interview. I've had time to reflect on this opinion, and I still don't. If you did, OK," Morgan said in a characteristically combative Tweet on Wednesday morning.

"Freedom of speech is a hill I'm happy to die on. Thanks for all the love, and hate. I'm off to spend more time with my opinions," he told his 7.8 million Twitter followers.

He added a photo of Winston Churchill with a quote on the topic of free speech.

In a two-hour interview that plunged the British monarchy into crisis, Meghan said the royal family had rejected her pleas for mental health support and that someone in the household had raised questions about the colour of her unborn son's skin.

The morning after the interview was aired on US television, Morgan said on Good Morning Britain, among a torrent of other criticisms, that he did not believe a word Meghan had said. In a tweet, he called her "Princess Pinocchio".

The following morning, he stormed off the set of the live programme when challenged by a co-presenter about his stance.

Later that day, ITV said he was leaving.

Monday's programme attracted more than 41,000 complaints to Britain's media regulator, which announced an investigation under its "harm and offence" rules.

Morgan first made his name in the cut-throat world of the British tabloid press, culminating in stints editing the now-defunct News of the World, then the Daily Mirror.

He later went into television, appearing as a judge on the reality shows America's Got Talent and Britain's Got Talent. For three years he hosted a chat show on CNN, replacing Larry King.

ITV shares fell on Wednesday with traders attributing at least part of the move to the resignation of television presenter.

Shares in the broadcaster were down 4.9 per cent in early London morning trading. Mr Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com, said he expects a drop in audience figures for the popular morning show.

"Ratings for Good Morning Britain will fall a lot, we think," he said.