Ed Miliband V Daily Mail: Francis Maude criticises newspaper over 'pretty revolting' story

Cabinet Office Minister becomes the Mail's harshest Tory critic yet

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Indy Politics

The Daily Mail has come under further fire for its attack on Ed Miliband's father, Ralph.

The harshest Tory critic yet, Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude said "a lot of people will be pretty revolted" by the Mail's story, which called Miliband Sr - who died in 1994 - "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 wrote when only 17 years old.

Most senior Conservatives had hitherto stopped short of criticising the newspaper, choosing instead to back the Labour leader's defence of his father as understandable.

But Mr Maude told Newsnight: "Like Ed Miliband, I had a father who was in the public eye (Angus Maude, a Tory cabinet minister under Margaret Thatcher) and I think it's quite unattractive to seek to ascribe to the son, the children, what the father has stood for.

"That is very unattractive, especially when that person is dead and can't reply for themselves. I think it probably will have done the Daily Mail some damage because it does look very unattractive and I think a lot of people will be pretty revolted by that approach."

Maude's comments came after Lord Moore of Lower Marsh, who Ralph Miliband taught at London School of Economics, came to his former tutor's defence.

He told the Press Association news agency: "I saw him week after week and it beggars belief that the Daily Mail can accuse him of lacking patriotism. I never heard him ever say one word which was negative about Britain – our country.

"The Daily Mail is telling lies about a good man who I knew. The people of this country are good and decent too. They do not want the Daily Mail attacking the dead relatives of politicians to make political points."