When news happens, text AND and your photos or videos to 80360. Or contact us by email and phone.
Mail 'crossed line of decency'
Ed Miliband has called on the owners of the Daily Mail to mount an urgent inquiry into the "culture and practices" of its newspapers after a reporter was sent uninvited to a memorial service he was attending for his late uncle.
In a letter to Lord Rothermere, the chairman of Daily Mail and General Trust, the Labour leader said the decision to send a reporter from the Mail on Sunday to the memorial service held yesterday at Guy's Hospital for Professor Harry Keen crossed "a line of common decency".
Mr Miliband, who spoke at the service, said the reporter had approached members of his family seeking comments on the controversy over the Daily Mail's attack on his late father, the Marxist intellectual Ralph Miliband.
"My wider family, who are not in public life, feel understandably appalled and shocked that this can have happened," he wrote.
"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.
"There are many decent people working at those newspapers and I know that many of them will be disgusted by this latest episode. But they will also recognise that what has happened to my family has happened to many others.
"Instead, I am writing to you as the owners of the Daily Mail and the Mail on Sunday because I believe it is long overdue that you reflect on the culture of your newspapers.
"You should conduct your own swift investigation into who was responsible at a senior level for this latest episode and also who is responsible for the culture and practices of these newspapers which jar so badly with the values of your readers.
"There are bigger issues for the people of Britain in the midst of the worst cost of living crisis for a century than intrusion into the life of my family. But the reaction of many people to the Daily Mail's attacks on my father this week demonstrates that the way your newspapers have behaved does not reflect the real character of our country.
"It is now your responsibility to respond."
Labour sources said that at the end of the service, Prof Keen's daughter was approached by a woman who shook her hand and offered her condolences, before introducing herself as a reporter from the Mail on Sunday.
The reporter asked whether the daughter wished to comment on the Daily Mail article about Mr Miliband senior and was told "no comment". When the reporter asked again, she was given the same answer, at which point she left.
Earlier Nick Clegg hit out at the Daily Mail in an outspoken attack, accusing the newspaper of "overflowing with bile" about modern Britain.
The Deputy Prime Minister said it was "quite understandable" that Mr Miliband denounced the paper after it ran an article about his late father under the headline "The man who hated Britain".
Appearing on his weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3, he said that it was the Mail which "excelled" at doing down its own country.
"When I heard the Daily Mail accusing someone of saying that they didn't like Britain... I'm not a regular reader of this newspaper but every time I do open it, it just seems to be overflowing with bile about modern Britain," he said.
"They don't like working mothers, they don't like the BBC, they don't like members of the royal family, they don't like teachers, they don't like the English football team - the list goes on. Talk about kettles and pots.
"I think it was quite understandable that Ed Miliband should react like that because clearly what they had to say about his dad was just out of order. The Daily Mail is free to print what it likes, people like me are perfectly free to say that it's wrong.
"It seems to me that if anyone excels in denigrating and often vilifying a lot about modern Britain, it's the Daily Mail."
Mr Clegg is the latest senior figure from across the political spectrum to voice concern at the way the Mail portrayed the Labour leader's father, who was a Jewish refugee who fled to Britain to escape the Nazis and served in the Royal Navy in the Second World War.
The bitter war of words triggered by the article showed no sign of abating, with Daily Mail columnist Stephen Glover accusing Mr Miliband of staging a "show of calculated hysteria" for political reasons.
"On one level, Red Ed knew that, as he has bound himself to his father in a series of speeches, he could not afford to let the accusation that Miliband senior had hated Britain go unchallenged," he wrote.
"On another level, Ed Miliband realised that his diatribes against this paper would go down well with the party faithful, and possibly convince the wider electorate that he was stronger and more determined than they had thought.
"He may also hope that, by creating such an almighty hullabaloo about his supposedly traduced father 19 months before the general election, he will somehow neutralise a potentially embarrassing issue - the influence of his Marxist father on his own beliefs - and deter the press from returning to it in the near future."
Mr Glover contrasted Mr Miliband's reaction to the article about his father with the way he had been prepared to pose for a photo with a Labour councillor wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "A Generation of Trade Unionists Will Dance on Thatcher's Grave" while the former prime minister was still alive.
"He did not give a fig for the sensibilities of an elderly lady and former Tory leader. Without doubt, his late father - who bitterly opposed the Falklands War - would have been very proud," he wrote.
The row comes as the Privy Council prepares to consider rival proposals put forward by the Government and the industry for a royal charter establishing a new system of press regulation.
Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude, who sits on a Privy Council sub-committee set up to consider the issue, said it was unclear whether it would affect their deliberations.
"I don't know whether it's made any difference how you work through what is a really complicated issue. There are lots of difficulties around it which we will resolve in due course," he told BBC2's Newsnight.
He made clear his own distaste for the Mail article: "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."
He added: "I don't think everything that's unattractive should be made illegal."