UK & World News
Mail On Sunday Boss Says Sorry To Miliband
The editor of The Mail On Sunday has apologised "unreservedly" to Ed Miliband after a reporter tried to question his family at a memorial service.
Geordie Greig called the move to send a journalist to the private ceremony for the Labour leader's uncle a "deplorable intrusion" and "terrible lapse of judgement".
Two Mail On Sunday journalists have been suspended and a full investigation launched by the newspaper into the blunder.
The female journalist went to the service for Professor Harry Keen at Guy's Hospital in London on Wednesday and approached his grieving daughter.
Labour sources said she shook her hand and offered her condolences before asking for a reaction to a controversial Daily Mail article about Mr Miliband's father Ralph.
She was told "no comment" and tried a second time before giving up and leaving, according to the party.
Mr Miliband, who spoke at the ceremony, was told about the approach by relatives later and complained to the newspaper group's chairman Lord Rothermere.
In an angry letter, he wrote: "My wider family, who are not in public life, feel understandably appalled and shocked that this can have happened ...
"Sending a reporter to my late uncle's memorial crosses a line of common decency. I believe it a symptom of the culture and practices of both the Daily Mail and The Mail On Sunday."
He demanded that the chairman launch a "swift investigation" into what he called "this latest episode" and into the wider methods of both newspapers.
And for the first time he linked the row to press regulation, saying: "I believe no purpose would be served by me complaining to the Press Complaints Commission because it is widely discredited."
Mr Greig's statement was issued shortly after Labour revealed details of the complaint.
He said: "I unreservedly apologise for a reporter intruding into a private memorial service for a relative of Ed Miliband. The reporter was sent without my knowledge; it was a decision which was wrong.
"I would further like to apologise to members of the family and friends attending the service for this deplorable intrusion.
"I have already spoken personally to Ed Miliband and expressed my regret that such a terrible lapse of judgement should have taken place.
"It is completely contrary to the values and editorial standards of The Mail On Sunday. I understand that Lord Rothermere is personally writing to Ed Miliband."
Labour later confirmed a letter had been received from the newspaper group's chairman.
A spokesman said: "Lord Rothermere has repeated the apology for the behaviour of The Mail On Sunday.
"This is an important step.
"However, he says he does not believe it reflected the culture and practices of the Mail or Mail On Sunday, and also he does not address the treatment of Ed Miliband's dad over the last few days.
"We continue to believe these issues need addressing and until they do so, many people will continue to believe that these newspapers are not upholding the values and decency of the British people."
David Miliband, who is now working in the US, later wrote on Twitter: "Woken up in San Francisco to texts about my uncle Harry. Unbelievable. Glad there has been an apology. He was a lovely man."
The development is the latest twist in a bitter war of words that has erupted between the politician and the media organisation.
It was sparked by a feature in the Daily Mail last Saturday which portrayed Ralph Miliband - a top Marxist academic who died in 1994 - as "The Man Who Hated Britain".
Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express and Daily Star newspapers, told Sky's Jeff Randall that he "100%" believed the article about the Labour leader's father had "a whiff of anti-semitism".
He added: "Go back in history Jeff to when the Mail said Mosley should be the leader, go back in history to when the Mail said that what was being done to the Jews in Germany should be done to the Jews in the UK."
The Daily Mail has not responded to a request from Jeff Randall Live for a comment from its editor Paul Dacre on Mr Desmond's allegation.
Mr Miliband was also angry after the Mail Online used a picture of his father's grave with the caption "grave socialist" and insisted on writing a rebuttal for the paper.
But the Mail has refused to apologise, and only included his response next to an editorial justifying its position and a shorter version of the original piece.
The row has continued to rage all week, and a new column in the Daily Mail on Thursday accuses the Labour leader of "a show of calculated hysteria".
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has joined the criticism, declaring that the newspaper is "overflowing with bile" about modern Britain.
He accused the Mail of "denigrating" the country and said Mr Miliband's reaction was "quite understandable".
Mr Clegg is the latest senior figure from across the political spectrum to voice concern about the coverage, but others have argued the press should be left alone.
The dispute comes days before the Privy Council is due to consider rival proposals put forward by the Government and the industry for a new system of press regulation.