Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is suing music magazine NME for defamation after it printed an article in which he discussed his views on immigration in Britain.

Former Smiths frontman Morrissey is suing music magazine NME for defamation after it printed an article in which he discussed his views on immigration in Britain.

The magazine criticized the 48-year-old singer for allegedly saying Britain had lost its identity as a result of higher levels of immigration than other European countries.

"We can confirm we have received two writs from Morrissey's legal representatives pertaining to NME and its editor Conor McNicholas," a spokesman for NME said today (Nov. 30). "NME takes this matter -- and the issues it highlights -- extremely seriously and we are currently in discussion with our own legal representatives."

Yesterday, Morrissey's representatives issued a statement on Web site www.true-to-you.net. "The NME had until 1.00 p.m. today (Thursday) to agree to print a suitable apology to Morrissey," it said. "Their only response to this deadline was to say that they 'do not have time to respond to the allegations.' Our lawyers are therefore in the process of issuing legal proceedings for defamation against the NME and its editor, Conor McNicholas."

In the interview, Morrissey was asked whether he would consider moving back to Britain from Italy. He is quoted as replying that high immigration levels meant England's identity was disappearing, unlike other countries like Germany or Sweden.

In a follow-up interview to discuss the original comments, Morrissey is quoted as saying that high immigration was not the reason he would not want to live in England, and that expense and pressure were important factors.

In the midst of the hubbub, it was announced that Morrissey had signed a new record deal with Polydor/Decca, which includes the United States.


COPYRIGHT: (c) Reuters 2007. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Reuters content, including by caching, framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Reuters. Reuters and the Reuters sphere logo are registered trademarks and trademarks of the Reuters group of companies around the world.