UK & World News
Daily Mail Editor Attacks Miliband 'Hysteria'
The editor of the Daily Mail has said the row between Ed Miliband and the newspaper over an article it printed about the Labour leader's late father shows why politicians "must not be allowed anywhere near press regulation".
Paul Dacre's comments - his first since the Mail published a story about Ralph Miliband's Marxist views under the headline "the man who hated Britain" - came after MPs agreed a series of changes to a draft royal charter.
Culture Secretary Maria Miller urged newspapers to sign up to the scheme but an industry steering group said the charter remains "written by politicians, imposed by politicians and controlled by politicians".
Writing in his own newspaper and the Guardian, Mr Dacre said the "collective hysteria" over the Miliband article showed why statutory regulation should not be introduced.
"Some have argued that last week's brouhaha shows the need for statutory press regulation," he said. "I would argue the opposite.
"The febrile heat, hatred, irrationality and prejudice provoked by last week's row reveals why politicians must not be allowed anywhere near press regulation.
"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."
The Daily Mail has refused to apologise for the article about Mr Miliband, which Mr Dacre said did not suggest he was "evil".
"Yes, the headline was controversial, but popular newspapers have a long tradition of using provocative headlines to grab readers' attention," he said.
"In isolation that headline may indeed seem over the top, but read in conjunction with the article we believed it was justifiable."
The planned royal charter would establish a new self-regulatory body that would rule on complaints and decide whether to impose penalties.
Changes to the scheme, which were agreed following talks between the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats, include provision for a fee for use of a new arbitration service, intended to deter speculative claims, as well as a code of conduct for editors, to be approved by the independent regulator.
The proposals will now go forward to the Privy Council for final approval on October 30.