Paul Dacre breaks silence over Daily Mail article on Ed Miliband's father

The editor of the paper defended a piece published on Ralph Miliband with the headline 'the man who hated Britain'

Paul Dacre has broken his silence following the row over an article printed by the Daily Mail about Labour leader Ed Miliband’s father.

The editor of the paper defended a piece published on Ralph Miliband with the headline “the man who hated Britain, arguing that whilst it was “controversial”, it was also “justifiable”.

Writing in the Guardian and the Daily Mail, Mr Dacre said the media had become gripped by a “collective hysteria” and was “obsessed” with the story, and accused the BBC of a “one-sided tone in their reporting to misrepresent Geoffrey Levy’s article on Ralph Miliband”. 

In a statement, the BBC said it rejected “any suggestion that our reporting has been biased” and said it had it had “followed the story as it unfolded and ensured both sides had the chance to express their views”.

Mr Dacre said the article, printed on 1 October, had “examined the views held by Miliband senior over his lifetime, not just as a 17-year-old youth”.

“The picture that emerged”, he continued, “was of a man who gave unqualified support to Russian totalitarianism until the mid-50s, who loathed the market economy, was in favour of a workers' revolution, denigrated British traditions and institutions such as the royal family, the church and the army and was overtly dismissive of western democracy.”

Mr Miliband reacted with anger after the article was published about his father, a Marxist academic, and said he was “appalled” by the statement that his father hated Britain, describing it as a “lie”.

After being granted a right of reply, Mr Miliband's response was published alongside an editorial by the Mail accusing his father of leaving an “evil legacy”, accompanied by an abridged version of Mr Levy’s article.

Today Mr Dacre conceded the headline was controversial, but argued "popular newspapers have a long tradition of using provocative headlines to grab readers' attention."

"In isolation that headline may indeed seem over the top, but read in conjunction with the article we believed it was justifiable."

He said the “heat, hatred, irrationality and prejudice provoked by last week’s row” demonstrated that politicians should not be allowed to control press regulation, drawing parallels between the Mail and the Guardian.

“And while the Mail does not agree with the Guardian over the stolen secret security files it published, I suggest that we can agree that the fury and recrimination the story is provoking reveals again why those who rule us - and who should be held to account by newspapers - cannot be allowed to sit in judgment on the press.”

“Newspapers are the only mass media left in Britain free from the control of the state”, he added.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Project Management Support Assistant

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Railway Museum, the largest of its ...

Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - Kent - £40,000

£30000 - £40000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: Junior Web Developer - ne...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project