Daily Mail executive admits paper 'mislabelled' controversial Ed Miliband article that claimed father Ralph 'hated Britain'

Hundreds of Labour activists planning to picket offices of Mail this weekend

Whitehall Editor

A senior executive from the Daily Mail tonight admitted for the first time that the paper may have “mislabelled” its controversial article that claimed Ed Miliband’s father “hated Britain”.

Alex Brummer, the Mail’s City editor, who earlier in the day had been sent out to defend the paper’s coverage of Ralph Miliband, suggested that the paper may have made a mistake in not making clear its original accusations had been comment.

Mr Brummer’s conciliatory remarks to Channel 4 News suggest that after five days of relentlessly negative media coverage fuelled by the Labour Party, and a campaign against the paper on social media, the Mail may be trying to draw a line under the affair.

“I think it [the article] just had the wrong label on it,” he said. “Sometimes articles which are comment should be labelled and made clear that they’re comment... So perhaps it should have said comment on it to make absolutely clear it was comment instead of a special report.”

Today, it emerged that hundreds of Labour activists were planning to picket the offices of the Mail this weekend to protest at the paper’s continued failure to apologise.

A further 20,000 people have signed an online petition calling on the Mail to retract its editorial that described Mr Miliband’s legacy as “evil”.

But the more emollient tone did not extend to some of the paper’s left-wing critics who have used the affair to launch a wider attack on the paper.

The paper’s editor Paul Dacre authorised the release of a letter sent to him by the left-wing columnist Mehdi Hasan asking to be considered as a columnist. Mr Hasan had condemned “the immigrant-bashing, woman-hating, Muslim-smearing, NHS-undermining, gay-baiting Daily Mail”  on BBC Question Time on Thursday night.

The letter quoted Mr Hasan writing to Mr Dacre that “the Mail has a vitally important role to play in the national debate” and that he admired Mr Dacre’s “relentless focus on the need for integrity and morality in public life.”

Mr Hasan hit back: “Paul Dacre hides in his tower of hate and gets employees to leak private letters on Twitter. Will any journalist ever write to the Mail again, knowing [the] latter can’t be trusted with private, work-related correspondence?” 

Mr Miliband meanwhile stepped up his demand for the paper’s owner, Lord Rothermere, to mount a full inquiry into his organisation’s culture and practices.

Lord Rothermere has apologised to Mr Miliband for a reporter from The Mail on Sunday turning up at a private memorial service for a relative but refused his demands for a wider inquiry into the way his newspapers operate.

However, with proposals for a new system of press regulation expected to be considered by the Privy Council when it meets next week, there were fears within the industry that the Labour leader could use the row to push for tighter rules.

A member of Lord Justice Leveson’s inquiry team said newspapers would be concerned if Mr Miliband’s tried to use it as “a cudgel to try to beat the press”. George Jones, a former Daily Telegraph political editor who was an assessor on the inquiry, said issues of taste and decency in newspaper reporting should not be a matter for regulation. “In my view, if you go down that road you do seriously compromise freedom of speech,” he told the BBC.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

They fled war in Syria...

...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

Kelis interview

The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea