Terence Lancaster

Click to follow
The Independent Online

May I first applaud Michael Leapman's obituary of Terence Lancaster [10 October], my old colleague on the Daily Mirror of pre-Maxwell days (and briefly during Maxwell's tenure), writes Geoffrey Goodman.

However, I am compelled to correct his reference to Lancaster and myself having "reluctantly agreed" to Maxwell's demands about how the Mirror should handle the front-page article to which Michael Leapman refers. Neither of us agreed to that. We both insisted on changes approved by the then editor Mike Molloy, who was also intimately involved in the incident.

These amendments to Maxwell's original demands not only modified but changed the thrust of criticism about Arthur Scargill. Indeed, the final piece also included considerable criticism of Margaret Thatcher's policy on the coal industry – in defiance of Maxwell's own views.

Even so, both Lancaster and myself told Molloy we would not have our by-lines on the article because of Maxwell's interference. The editor knew we were both prepared to resign over the issue. It was one of the first tests of Mike Molloy's courageous editorship during that difficult and tense period.

It is also well-known Fleet Street history that my own later departure from the Mirror was precipitated by Maxwell's attempt to interefere with one of my weekly columns dealing with the Government's handling of the miners' strike.