Ed Miliband warns Daily Mail over 'gutter' campaign against him during next election and demands apology over photo of father Ralph

Labour leader seeks apology as former Thatcher ally accuses newspaper of ‘telling lies’ about Ralph Miliband

Whitehall Editor

The Daily Mail is facing a barrage of criticism from across the political spectrum as the paper defiantly refused to apologise for “smearing” the reputation of Ed Miliband’s father.

The former Conservative Cabinet minister, Lord Moore of Lower Marsh, said it “beggared belief” that the newspaper could accuse his former tutor Ralph Miliband of a lack of patriotism.

Lord Moore, who studied under Mr Miliband at the London School of Economics, went on to serve in Margaret Thatcher’s Cabinet between 1986 and 1989. He accused the paper of “making up lies about a good man”.

“Ralph Miliband taught me and I can say he was one of the most inspiring and objective teachers I had,” he said. “It beggars belief that the Daily Mail can accuse him of lacking patriotism.

“The Daily Mail is telling lies about a good man who I knew. The people of this country do not want the Daily Mail attacking the dead relatives of politicians to make political points.”

He was joined in his criticism by Lord Heseltine, who attacked the paper for its treatment of Mr Miliband. “This is carrying politics to an extent that is just demeaning, frankly,” he said.

Boris Johnson, London Mayor, added: “I’ve got ancestry that doesn’t come from this country and I think people do feel very sensitive if the patriotism of those relatives is impugned. I can imagine that being a very, very hurtful thing and I would definitely want to fire back if it was me.”

Only one current Conservative politician came forward to defend the Mail’s treatment of Mr Miliband.

Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, whose wife is a columnist at the paper, said: “Newspapers should not apologise to politicians for being robust. We need a free press that is robust, raucous and, by definition, will sometimes offend.” Ed Miliband himself increased the pressure on the paper and its editor, Paul Dacre, warning that not he would not stand by and let the Mail wage a “gutter” campaign against him.

In a personal attack on Mr Dacre, he accused him of using language to describe his father that was normally reserved for mass murderers. He reiterated his demand for an apology from the paper but insisted it was not making an argument for further regulation of the press.

“In time past, people would say, it is the Mail, let it go. But I am not prepared to do that any more,” he told the London Evening Standard.

“I think it is not about regulation but about responsibility and right and wrong. That applies to the Daily Mail editor as much as anyone else.

“Sometimes a line is crossed. The next election can’t be fought in the gutter. The most important thing for me was to defend my dad.”

Next week, the Privy Council will meet to decide whether to approve the newspaper industry’s version of a royal charter for the future of press regulation or to enshrine the one agreed by the political parties in Westminster.

Senior industry figures, who have been attempting to fight off attempts at tougher regulation, are concerned that the row will overshadow the meeting and make compromise harder.

“The truth is we are all human and it’s very hard for people sitting round that table next week to ignore what’s been going on,” said Chris Blackhurst, Group Content Director of The Independent and the Evening Standard.

“I certainly think it will have driven a wedge between politicians and the press. The schism’s already there and this has probably deepened it a bit further.”

Evening Standard exclusive: I had to defend my dad

Party parents: Like father, like son?

In one respect, the Daily Mail was right: it was legitimate to examine the career of Ed Miliband’s father and to ask whether he had a role in shaping his son’s political outlook. It was the nastiness with which they traduced a dead man to discredit his son that has generated the backlash.

Now that we know so much about Ralph Miliband, what of the fathers of the other main party leaders? None has a biography as colourful as Miliband Snr, and, coincidentally, they were all money men – bankers or stockbrokers – but in each you can see a family resemblance that has contributed to the making of the politicians.

Ian Cameron was a formidably successful businessman whose example evidently stimulated the ambition of his son. He was a City stockbroker, and latterly chairman of Close International Asset management, a multimillion-pound investment fund based in Jersey, and a director of another multi-million pound fund, Blairmore Holdings Inc, registered in Panama City, and a shareholder in Blairmore Asset Management based in Geneva. Basing these businesses offshore or abroad was a legal way of avoiding UK tax. Ian Cameron died a few months after seeing his son installed in Downing Street, leaving an estate worth £2.74m, of which the Prime Minister inherited £300,000. David Cameron obviously misses him. “When you have lost your Dad, there isn’t a day that goes by when you don’t think of what they meant to you and how much you miss them,” he said this week.

Nicholas Peter Clegg, a banker, was the son of a journalist for the British Medical Journal and an exiled Russian aristocrat. He married a Dutch woman, making Nick Clegg Jnr only one quarter English. Nicholas Clegg Snr was managing director of the London unit of the Japanese bank Daiwa Securities, and the Founder, Managing Trustee and Chairman of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, a charity that supports closer links between the two countries. One of the people who worked with him, strangely, was the veteran Tory, Ken Clarke, who said: “He is a very nice, wise guy. He was a very successful City man but not a flashy City man.” Nick Clegg has had a taste of what Ed Miliband went through this week when his Spanish father-in-law was attacked by the Daily Mail. Jose Gonzalez was the first elected Mayor of Olmedo, in northern Spain, after Falanget rule ended in 1979, but the Mail pointed out that for the previous four years, he had been the unelected mayor installed by the dictatorship.

Guy Oscar Justus Farage was also a stockbroker, an extrovert, and a very well-known character in the City of London, back before the Thatcher government swept away all the old rules and restrictive practices in 1986. He left the family home when Nigel Farage was five, but he influenced the future UKIP in a number of ways, including a choice of career. Nigel Farage went directly from school into the City, where his father was remembered as “the best dressed man in the stock exchange.” He was a reformed alcoholic, who gave up the bottle in his 30s, with a nostalgia for the way things used to be.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Flocking round: Beyoncé, Madame Tussauds' latest waxwork, looking fierce in the park
travelIn a digital age when we have more access than ever to the stars, why are waxworks still pulling in crowds?
Arts and Entertainment
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench appeared at the Hay Festival to perform excerpts from Shakespearean plays
tvJudi Dench and Hugh Bonneville join Benedict Cumberbatch in BBC Shakespeare adaptations
Is this how Mario Balotelli will cruise into Liverpool?
Ronahi Serhat, a PKK fighter, in the Qandil Mountains in Iraqi Kurdistan
Arts and Entertainment
Poet’s corner: Philip Larkin at the venetian window of his home in 1958
booksOr caring, playful man who lived for others? A new book has the answer
Arts and Entertainment
Exhibition at the Centre Pompidou in Metz - 23 May 2012
Matthew McConaughey and his son Levi at the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Houston Astros at Fenway Park on August 17, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts.
advertisingOscar-winner’s Lincoln deal is latest in a lucrative ad production line
Life and Style
Pick of the bunch: Sudi Pigott puts together roasted tomatoes with peppers, aubergines and Labneh cheese for a tomato-inspired vegetarian main dish
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Alfred Molina, left, and John Lithgow in a scene from 'Love Is Strange'
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost, Data Mining

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...

Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Support, Help desk)

£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...

Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Learning, SQL, Brokerage)

£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...

UNIX Application Support Analyst- Support, UNIX, London

£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...

Day In a Page

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

Air strikes? Talk of God? Obama is following the jihadists’ script

The President came the nearest he has come yet to rivalling George W Bush’s gormless reaction to 9/11 , says Robert Fisk
Ebola outbreak: Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on the virus

Billy Graham’s son declares righteous war on Ebola

A Christian charity’s efforts to save missionaries trapped in Africa by the crisis have been justifiably praised. But doubts remain about its evangelical motives
Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC

Not even Jeremy Clarkson is bigger than the BBC, says TV boss

Corporation’s head of television confirms ‘Top Gear’ host was warned about racist language
Nick Clegg the movie: Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise

Nick Clegg the movie

Channel 4 to air Coalition drama showing Lib Dem leader's rise
Philip Larkin: Misogynist, racist, miserable? Or caring, playful man who lived for others?

Philip Larkin: What will survive of him?

Larkin's reputation has taken a knocking. But a new book by James Booth argues that the poet was affectionate, witty, entertaining and kind, as hitherto unseen letters, sketches and 'selfies' reveal
Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?

Waxing lyrical

Madame Tussauds has shown off its Beyoncé waxwork in Regent's Park - but why is the tourist attraction still pulling in the crowds?
Texas forensic astronomer finally pinpoints the exact birth of impressionism

Revealed (to the minute)

The precise time when impressionism was born
From slow-roasted to sugar-cured: how to make the most of the British tomato season

Make the most of British tomatoes

The British crop is at its tastiest and most abundant. Sudi Pigott shares her favourite recipes
10 best men's skincare products

Face it: 10 best men's skincare products

Oscar Quine cleanses, tones and moisturises to find skin-savers blokes will be proud to display on the bathroom shelf
Malky Mackay allegations: Malky Mackay, Iain Moody and another grim day for English football

Mackay, Moody and another grim day for English football

The latest shocking claims do nothing to dispel the image that some in the game on these shores exist in a time warp, laments Sam Wallace
La Liga analysis: Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Will Barcelona's hopes go out of the window?

Pete Jenson starts his preview of the Spanish season, which begins on Saturday, by explaining how Fifa’s transfer ban will affect the Catalans
Middle East crisis: We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

We know all too much about the cruelty of Isis – but all too little about who they are

Now Obama has seen the next US reporter to be threatened with beheading, will he blink, asks Robert Fisk
Neanderthals lived alongside humans for centuries, latest study shows

Final resting place of our Neanderthal neighbours revealed

Bones dated to 40,000 years ago show species may have died out in Belgium species co-existed
Scottish independence: The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

The new Scots who hold fate of the UK in their hands

Scotland’s immigrants are as passionate about the future of their adopted nation as anyone else
Britain's ugliest buildings: Which monstrosities should be nominated for the Dead Prize?

Blight club: Britain's ugliest buildings

Following the architect Cameron Sinclair's introduction of the Dead Prize, an award for ugly buildings, John Rentoul reflects on some of the biggest blots on the UK landscape