Mail reporter gatecrashed Miliband memorial

12:31 pm - October 3rd 2013

by Newswire    

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The Daily Mail sent one of its reporters to sneak in, uninvited, into a memorial event for Ed Miliband’s uncle, to question members of his family about Ralph Miliband.

The leader of the Labour party today sent an angry letter to Lord Rothermere to complain about the newspaper’s actions.

Dear Lord Rothermere,

Yesterday I spoke at a memorial event held at Guy’s Hospital in London for my uncle, Professor Harry Keen, a distinguished doctor who died earlier this year. It was an event in a room on the 29th floor of Guy’s Hospital which was attended only by family members, close friends and colleagues.

I was told by one of my relatives late yesterday evening that a reporter from the Mail on Sunday had found her way into the event uninvited. I also discovered that, once there, she approached members of my family seeking comments on the controversy over the Daily Mail’s description of my late father as someone who “hated Britain”.

My wider family, who are not in public life, feel understandably appalled and shocked that this can have happened.

The Editor of the Mail on Sunday has since confirmed to my office that a journalist from his newspaper did indeed attend the memorial uninvited with the intention of seeking information for publication this weekend.

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.

There are many decent people working at those newspapers and I know that many of them will be disgusted by this latest episode. But they will also recognise that what has happened to my family has happened to many others.

I believe no purpose would be served by me complaining to the Press Complaints Commission because it is widely discredited.

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 (by tf support everette) . You should conduct your own swift investigation into who was responsible at a senior level for this latest episode and also who is responsible for the culture and practices of these newspapers which jar so badly with the values of your readers.

There are bigger issues for the people of Britain in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis for a century than intrusion into the life of my family. But 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.

It is now your responsibility to respond.

Ed Miliband

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Reader comments

End Rothermere’s inherited non-dom tax status

Newspapers should reflect the real character of a country as defined by socialist politicians?

Not doing a very good job of distancing himself from Marxism, is he?

“Newspapers should reflect the real character of a country as defined by socialist politicians?

Not doing a very good job of distancing himself from Marxism, is he?”

As defined by us all – gate crashing a memorial service for family? Even safely rightwing people frown at that! Earlier this year a certain rusty lady finally departed. What outrage from certain circles was there, as people (the majority in many parts of this country) downtrodden by her policies celebrated?

The Mail have crossed a line of common decency. Again.

To me the most interesting part of Ed’s response is the specific wording in requesting to Jonathan Harmsworth “You reflect on the culture of your own newspapers. You should conduct your own swift investigation…”

Harmsworth explained to Leveson that he normally “recommends” to Dacre to do this, in situations where politician complain about newspaper behaviour. It is quite clear that Milliband is asking him to conduct this investigation himself as borne out by the later phrase “…who was responsible at a senior level”.

(Harmsworth on Leveson is here: 11mins 24seconds in he explains this process. I have a transcript here: )

The point about Harmsworth’s supposedly hands off approach, is it principle makes the editor utterly unaccountable, especially if criticism of the editor is investigated by the editor.

5. so much for twittery

Not doing a very good job of distancing himself from Marxism, is he?

Good, though I see it doesn’t really affect Labour standing in the polls, they are still ahead, its almost like people think Marxism isn’t actually that bad. So why should he distance himself.

6. Martin Young

I think the Daily Heil should be congratulated. Now no one can say they haven’t heard of Ed. This only shows that he has character and leadership; after all, comedy Dave has already capitulated to the press over Leveson and shows a total lack of a backbone over the Press inquiry. This publicity can only be a bonus for Ed. What a putrid news media we have. Even on the BBC Ed’s dad is always described as “Marxist Lecturer”. Why don’t we hear of “tax dodging, fascist news mogul’s” offspring?

7. Jim Hutchon

The Mail and MoS have form on pestering families. Specifically, I have been looking over Leveson evidence, and came across the case of the Mail’s intrusion into the family of DCI Bob Quick, who, readers may remember, was the man who had Damian Green arrested for alleged conspiracy in stealing secret state documents. He also got up the nose of David Davies who, he said, misrepresented his views in a meeting because they didn’t co-incide with Davies’.
The Mail, probably acting as the tories’ rottweiller, crunched its muddy boots over Mrs Quick’s business, and put the whole family under real threat from terrosists as Quick was a senior anti-terrorist officer at the time. Quick eventually resigned, and the country lost a key, experienced anti-terrorist officer, and his wife lost her business. Well done Dacre & co.

I’m entirely behind Ed on this subject, and his letter to Rothermere is beautifully done, and neatly and correctly casts the Mail as “anti-British”.

One small caveat, and that’s the Damian McBride book (which, unaccountably, has escaped Sunny’s attention). Two points:

1) To a certain extent, given his place in Brown’s inner team, Ed is the biter bit. In fairness though, some insider accounts suggest he was a moderating influence and deserves credit for that.

2) This sage will have taken people’s minds off McBride, and Ed will surely be the winner. A bit of an own-goal for Dacre?

Jack’s second point highlights why I think you lefties are missing the bigger picture here. The McBride story was only of interest to the train spotters who follow Westminstet gossip and the court infighting that characterizes that place. Ditto for Ed crying over what the nasty boys said about his Dad. Back in the real world, most people in work feel that the economy is picking up and their house is becoming more valuable. And they finally have a government which doesn’t just talk tough about getting welfare under control but actually seems to be doing something about it. They really don’t care at all that some newspaper has once again upset someone powerful. You need to take a few steps back and check your perspective.

9. Op Ed

“Back in the real world, most people in work feel that the economy is picking up and their house is becoming more valuable”

Yours is a different real world to mine. You need to take a few steps back, and check your perspective.

8. Op Ed
Thanks for your example of what a Tory shitbrain wants the public to think.

Whilst you’re breaking wind loudly on this site, could you explain why the Tories are suddenly ‘For Hardworking People’ when they usually rant against immigrants and minimum wage slaves?

13. gastro george

@8 Op Ed

“Back in the real world, most people in work feel that the economy is picking up and their house is becoming more valuable.”

Remind me. Who’s ahead in the polls right now?

It’s really quite disgusting watching Campbell attempting to take the moral highground with Dacre (or McBride for that matter). He may suffer from amnesia and delusions of piety but the rest of us bloody don’t. It completely traduces the genuine and legitimate opprobrium felt by the punters to have that guy leading the charge against the Mail – under no circumstances would I ever support anything Campbell promotes. Shame really, as Ed had a strong case but to have Prescott & Campbell crying over it takes the total piss.

DtP re Comment 13:

I agree Campbell and Prescott should be reigned in (if possible) because it risks tainting the spat with associating Ed Miliband’s claims of outrage with memories of New Labour tactics. To hear Alasdair Campbell talk of the memory of dead public servants only makes me think of the memory of David Kelly.

It obviously moved on beyond a misleading banner (it was the headline people refer to not the assertions of the article) / right of reply / refusal by both sides to concede any validity in the other’s claims. Now we are into a campaign by Labour to try and neutralise the influence of The Daily Mail – which is all fine as long as we don’t pretend otherwise.

As far as I am concerned Ed Miliband has a mountain to climb to outgrow the image of a numpty who couldn’t stand up for himself enough to be mentioned on his son’s birth certificate. But there again, perhaps I just a stickler for detail.

16. Man on Clapham Omnibus

4. so much for twittery

might help if you knew what Marxism is about!

17. Paul peter Smith

In the same way that Ed failed to make something of defeating Cameron’s Syria vote, he seems to be already blowing this opportunity. He’s all over the news saying he doesn’t want to make a big deal about it and coming across a bit whiney. Much as I’d like it to be otherwise, Ed doesnt have ‘Leader’ written all over him and its becoming increasingly more obvious every time someone hands him an open goal.

16. Paul peter Smith
This is about a newspaper. If you have proof that the Tory Party is responsible, please post it.

Could anyone confirm whether Ed Miliband or his brother attended this lecture given in 2009 as part of the Ralph Miliband lecture series at the LSE?

If so what was their immediate reaction?

20. Paul peter Smith

@17 Ceiliog
I mentioned the Tory party obliquely by naming their leader. I believe the closest thing to an allegation in my post was levelled at Ed not being great at capitalizing on opportunities, whether from his Parliamentary opposition or below the belt journalism like this.

Or in otherwords, what?

19. Paul peter Smith
Ed Miliband Not Vainglorious – Shock Horror

22. Robin Levett

@Kojak #18:

Could anyone confirm whether Ed Miliband or his brother attended this lecture given in 2009 as part of the Ralph Miliband lecture series at the LSE?

If so what was their immediate reaction?

Are they LSE staff or students?

23. Paul peter Smith

@ Ceiliog
Ed Miliband, not a decisive leader – mores the pity!

Bad judgement or standard operating procedure for Mail hacks? They’ve got form:

@22 Peter Paul Smith

Taking on the Daily Mail is indecisive? What are you talking about?

26. Paul peter Smith

I’m refering to his performance on tv today. He won this fight the moment it started and that was the time to reply and sit back and let Cambell et al do the scrapping. The half hearted performance I saw this morning didn’t shout decisive to me.


That’s a bit nitpicking.

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