A former Croydon Conservative MP and one-time trusted aide to Margaret Thatcher has joined the growing row over the Daily Wail’s attack on Ralph Miliband, the refugee, Second World War serviceman and father of Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour party.
The Daily Wail described Ralph Miliband as “The Man Who Hated Britain” in a feature article at the weekend.
Yesterday, John Moore, the former Tory cabinet minister who was once tipped to succeed Thatcher as the leader of his party, joined a growing number of critics of the Wail‘s vicious attacks on the Milibands. Lord Moore accused the Wail of “telling lies” about Ralph Miliband.
Moore was MP for Croydon Central for nearly 20 years, from the creation of the constituency in 1974, and he served in Thatcher’s cabinet between 1986 and 1989. Moore said it “beggars belief” that the Wail could impugn the patriotism of Miliband, a London School of Economics lecturer who he described as a “great academic” and an inspiring teacher. “Ralph Miliband taught me and I can say he was one of the most inspiring and objective teachers I had,” Moore said. “Of course, we had different political opinions but he never treated me with anything less than complete courtesy and I had profound respect for his integrity.
“He had come here as a refugee, done his duty to his adopted country by serving in our Royal Navy during the war, become a great academic and raised a good family.
“I saw him week after week and it beggars belief that the Daily Mail can accuse him of lacking patriotism. I never heard him ever say one word which was negative about Britain – our country.
“The Daily Mail is telling lies about a good man who I knew. The people of this country are good and decent too. They do not want the Daily Mail attacking the dead relatives of politicians to make political points.”
In 1992, after a bout of ill-health, Moore stood down from parliament to become Lord Moore of Lower Marsh – even though he does not have any obvious background in running an SE1 market stall, but he might have had a few bespoke suits made by Monty Modlin’s father.
Lord Moore is the latest senior Conservative party figure to criticise the Wail. Yesterday, Michael Heseltine, the former Tory deputy prime minister, told the BBC, “This is carrying politics to an extent that is just demeaning, frankly. The headline isn’t justified. It is completely out of context. As everybody knows the guy fought for this country and we now live in a totally different world to the clash between communism and fascism.”
Others have been more pointed in their criticisms; even though the original article carried the byline of Geoffrey Levy, the Jewish Chronicle has accused the Wail of anti-semitism.
The Wail was a notable supporter in the 1930s of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany and the British fascist party. On Tuesday, when Ed Miliband responded to the Wail’s original article, accusing it of lying about his father, the newspaper company’s management extended the contract of the editor, Paul Dacre, who would otherwise have been due to retire next month.
Today, Geordie Greig, the editor of the Wail’s Sunday sister title, has issued an apology to Ed Miliband for two of his reporters gate-crashing a memorial service; the reporters have been suspended over their conduct.
Coming to Croydon
- Tea at Five at the Spread Eagle: Oct 2-4
- Minster’s musical celebration for Silver Sunday: Oct 6
- Rent at the Secombe Theatre: Oct 9-12
- Debate the future of arts in Croydon: Oct 10
- Stanley Lives – open day in South Norwood: Oct 12
- Lakes Playground group’s fundraising Zumba-ween: Oct 26
- PJ’s enterprising look at Black History Month: Oct 29
- Inside Croydon: Croydon’s only independent news source, based in the heart of the borough – 262,183 page views (Jan-Jun 2013)
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- Daily Mail overflowing with bile about Britain, Nick Clegg says (theguardian.com)
- Daily Mail accused of antisemitic attack over Miliband story (thejc.com)
- I had to defend my dad – they crossed the line by publishing a picture of his gravestone, says Ed Miliband (standard.co.uk)