Toby Young, The Sun on Sunday's political columnist, risked alienating potential readers before the newspaper's launch today, referring to the killing of schoolgirl Milly Dowler as "that murdered girl thing" on Twitter.
Young's comment has offended those associated with the family, and provoked a Twitter storm. Solicitor Mark Lewis, representing the Dowler family, said: "I do not intend to dignify his comment by saying why it was wrong. If that is the standard of journalism at The Sun on Sunday then it seems that they have learnt nothing from the past."
Young had written to the comic writer Graham Linehan on Twitter: "That murdered schoolgirl thing? Check The Guardian story. Turned out to be balls. Get off your high horse."
Young told The Independent on Sunday that his comments were in the context of a Twitter spat with Linehan. "He referred to Milly Dowler as the 'murdered girl' and asked me how I could work for Murdoch. I was pointing out that The Guardian's original story, in which Nick Davies accused Glenn Mulcaire of having deleted Milly Dowler's voicemail messages, turned out to be wrong. Quite a serious error, given that it led to the closure of a national newspaper," he said.
News International chose not to comment, nor respond to whether Rupert Murdoch would be taking any action against Young.
Young wrote of his own appointment: "When I open the new paper on Sunday and see my picture byline I'll feel a warm glow of happiness." He may now be hoping that his comments do nothing to take away from that glow.Reuse content