Ed Miliband V Daily Mail: Master of Wellington College says Mail 'set a bad example' to children

Anthony Seldon said of Ralph Miliband article: 'It is nasty, it lacks taste and decency'

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The Independent Online

Wading into the ongoing debate over the Daily Mail's attack on Ed Miliband's father, the head teacher at one of the country's top schools has accused the newspaper of setting a bad example to children.

Anthony Seldon, master of Wellington College, told The Observer: "If the Mail speaks for Britain, it is not a Britain I want to be part of."

Last week the Mail ran a story calling Ralph Miliband "the man who hated Britain."

After the offending story was published, Ed Miliband demanded right of reply from the newspaper, using an opinion piece to point out that his father - a Holocaust refugee - fought against the Nazis during the Second World War and that the article was based heavily on a diary entry Miliband Sr wrote when only 17 years old.

The Mail, and its editor Paul Dacre, have come under heavy criticism since.

Mr Seldon said: "It sets a very bad example to young people to belittle someone who is dead. I think it is nasty, it lacks taste and decency, and I worry about antisemitism.

"Everything that I value and try to get across to young people here, this seems to cut across. It is antithetical to everything I try to teach our pupils."

Mr Miliband has claimed the attack on his father, and the subsequent gatecrashing of a private memorial service for his uncle by sister title the Mail on Sunday, are symptomatic of the culture at the titles.

Viscount Rothermere, chairman of the company which owns the newspapers, apologised for the intrusion but denied that it signalled a wider problem at his newspapers.

Mail on Sunday editor Geordie Greig apologised unreservedly for the "terrible lapse of judgment" and suspended two journalists pending a full investigation.