Miliband warned not to use Mail row to attack free Press
Ed Miliband's battle with the Daily Mail appears deadlocked after the newspaper made clear it would not apologise for an article denouncing the Labour leader's late father.
Alex Brummer, the Mail's City editor, said it was the paper that was entitled to an apology after some Labour Party figures suggested its attack on Ralph Miliband, a Marxist academic, was motivated by anti-semitism.
"I don't think we need to apologise for anything. This was a piece which examined somebody's views very carefully," he said. "I think there are people out there who need to apologise to us because there have been vicious accusations in the last couple of days, from [former Labour leader] Neil Kinnock among others, that somehow this was an anti-semitic attack."
Mr Miliband sought to distance himself from the claims of anti-semitism, saying: "I don't believe that of the Mail, that's not been my issue."
Buy one get one free on main course and specials excludes fillet steaks and beef Wellington
Must book to qualify 01209 860332 and present voucher on arrival
Mon- Thur 6-9pm
Contact: 01209 700617
Valid until: Saturday, December 21 2013
But he stepped up his demand for the paper's owner, Lord Rothermere, to mount a full inquiry into his organisation's culture and practices after the Mail's sister title, The Mail on Sunday, sent a reporter to accost his relatives at a private memorial service. Lord Rothermere has apologised to Mr Miliband for that incident 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 used it as "a cudgel to try to beat the press".
George Jones, a former Daily Telegraph political editor and Press Association special correspondent 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 BBC Radio 4's The World At One. "I think Ed Miliband does have an agenda here beyond what is his perfectly natural and filial right to defend his father and stand up for his own family. He is perfectly entitled to do that.
"Where I worry about it is that if he is trying to broaden this into an attack on the Press, an attack on newspapers, I think he is misguided.
"Even though I personally found some of the Daily Mail coverage of Ed Miliband distasteful, I still think that newspapers have to be free to report these things and take strong stands, strong opinions, even if people don't like them."
Appearing on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme, Mr Brummer said that as a senior Jewish journalist on the paper, he had been asked by the Mail's editor, Paul Dacre, to do the interview in order to nail the "canard" that the article about Mr Miliband senior had been motivated by anti-semitism. The aim, he said, had been to try to understand the roots of the Labour leader's policies in the wake of his party conference speech last week in Brighton.