Mail on Sunday apology for reporter attending Miliband family memorial event

Ed Miliband Ed Miliband said the intrusion was symptomatic of the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday's culture

Related Stories

The Mail on Sunday has "unreservedly" apologised "for a reporter intruding into a private memorial service" for Labour leader Ed Miliband's uncle.

Editor Geordie Greig's apology came after Mr Miliband wrote to the paper's owner asking him to "reflect on the culture of your newspapers".

Mr Miliband said relatives at the memorial event had been asked for views on "the Daily Mail's description of my father as someone who 'hated Britain'".

Two journalists have been suspended.

In his statement Mr Greig said the reporter had been sent without his knowledge and an investigation was being held into "a decision which was wrong".

He said he had expressed to Mr Miliband his "regret that such a terrible lapse of judgement" had happened, adding: "It is completely contrary to the values and editorial standards of The Mail on Sunday."

Lord Rothermere, owner of both the Daily Mail and Mail on Sunday, has apologised to the Labour leader over the reporters' actions.

'Common decency'

Mr Miliband has been involved in a row with the Daily Mail since it printed a profile of his late father, Marxist academic Ralph Miliband, last Friday, headlined "The man who hated Britain".

In his letter to Lord Rothermere, the Labour leader said the memorial event for his uncle Professor Harry Keen on Wednesday, at Guy's Hospital in London, had been attended by family, close friends and colleagues.

"It seems to me that if anyone excels in denigrating and often vilifying a lot about modern Britain, it's the Daily Mail", Mr Clegg told LBC radio

But, he said, a reporter from the Mail on Sunday had attended the memorial uninvited with the intention of seeking information for publication this weekend: "My wider family, who are not in public life, feel understandably appalled and shocked that this can have happened.

"Sending a reporter to my late uncle's memorial crosses a line of common decency. I believe it a symptom of the culture and practices of both the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday."

Mr Miliband said "decent" staff at the newspapers would be "disgusted" by what had happened, but there was no point in complaining to the "widely discredited" Press Complaints Commission.

"Instead, I am writing to you as the owners of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday because I believe it is long overdue that you reflect on the culture of your newspapers.

He added: "The reaction of many people to the Daily Mail's attacks on my father this week demonstrates that the way your newspapers have behaved does not reflect the real character of our country."

'Useful idiot'

But the Daily Mail has stood by its original reporting of the views of Ralph Miliband, who served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and who died in 1994.

In Thursday's edition, columnist Stephen Glover accused Ed Miliband of staging a "show of calculated hysteria" for political reasons.

And the newspaper's political sketch writer, Quentin Letts, told BBC One's Question Time that Mr Miliband had mentioned his father "in every speech I've heard him make".

He described Ralph Miliband as a "useful idiot" for "people that were promoting Marxism" during the Cold War.

Mr Letts added that Ralph Miliband had been "furious that we won the Falklands War. He wanted us to lose the Falklands War.

"Is that the behaviour of a man who loves his country? I'm not sure it is."

However, shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, praising Ralph Miliband's military record, told Question Time: "People who haven't served their country and fought for their country should really think before deciding that they have a monopoly on determining British values."

Meanwhile Ralph Miliband's biographer, Michael Newman, said the late academic "didn't hate Britain" but had been "very fond of Britain".

He called the Daily Mail's coverage "a deliberate attempt to equate criticism of British system and institutions... with a lack of patriotism, which it certainly wasn't. He wanted a different kind of Britain; he wasn't against Britain."

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg told his weekly LBC radio phone-in show that "if anyone excels in... vilifying a lot about modern Britain, it's the Daily Mail - talk about kettles and pots".

More on This Story

Related Stories

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More UK Politics stories

RSS

Politics Live

  1.  
    06:34: 'UK must support Hong Kong'
    Hong Kong

    The Commons Foreign Affairs Committee has urged the government to speak up in support of democracy in Hong Kong or risk damage to the UK's reputation there. The MPs said they were "profoundly disappointed" at ministers' response when China blocked committee members from visiting the former UK colony. Foreign Office minister Hugo Swire said the UK wanted democratic "transition". More here.

     
  2.  
    06:28: Greens moot alliance with SNP
    Caroline Lucas

    The Greens are expected to call for a "progressive alliance" with the SNP at their party conference in Liverpool later today.

    Green Party MP and former leader Caroline Lucas will say: "With the rise of the SNP, and with our own Green surge, we have the chance to forge a new grouping in Parliament. A progressive alliance.

    "Of course, in Scotland and in Wales we'll be fighting hard for our distinctive values and policies. Just as we do against those individual Labour and even Lib Dem candidates with whom we have something in common." More here.

     
  3.  
    06:18: 'England's population up'

    A major analysis by the University of Oxford estimates that the population of England has risen by 565,000 since 2011 because of immigration. The Migration Observatory unit says it came up with the projections because similar official data will not be available before the general election. Two-thirds of the rise is attributed to people from the European Union. We'll bring you all the reaction.

     
  4.  
    06:13: Good morning from Westminster

    Hello and welcome to Friday's political coverage. Nick Eardley and Sarah Weaver will bring you all the action, reaction and analysis in text and you'll be able to watch and listen to all the main BBC political programmes, from Today and Breakfast through to Newsnight and Today in Parliament. Don't forget you can get in touch by emailing politics@bbc.co.uk or via social media @bbcpolitics. Here's how Thursday unfolded.

     

Features

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show

Programmes

  • A robotClick Watch

    The latest in robotics including software that can design electronics to solve problems

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.