The Mail on Sunday apologises to Ed Miliband after reporter gatecrashes family memorial

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 03 October, 2013, 9:35pm
UPDATED : Friday, 04 October, 2013, 4:53am

Britain's The Mail on Sunday has apologised "unreservedly" to Ed Miliband for a reporter intruding into a private memorial service for a relative of the Labour leader.

The apology came after Miliband wrote to the proprietor of The Mail on Sunday, Lord Rothermere, saying the common line of decency had been breached by the reporter gatecrashing a memorial service for his uncle.

The paper's editor, Geordie Greig, promised a full investigation, saying it had been a "terrible lapse of judgment" and two journalists on the paper had been suspended.

"I unreservedly apologise for a reporter intruding into a private memorial service for a relative of Ed Miliband," he said.

"The reporter was sent without my knowledge; it was a decision which was wrong. Two journalists have been suspended and a full investigation is now being carried out.

"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."

Miliband, locked in a row with sister paper the Daily Mail over a report saying his late father hated Britain, wrote in his letter that he spoke at the memorial service, held at Guy's hospital in London for his uncle, Professor Harry Keen, a distinguished doctor.

"It was an event in a room on the 29th floor of Guy's hospital which was attended only by family members, close friends and colleagues," he wrote. "I was told by one of my relatives late yesterday evening that a reporter from The Mail on Sunday had found her way into the event uninvited.

"I also discovered that, once there, she approached members of my family seeking comments on the controversy over the Daily Mail's description of my late father as someone who 'hated Britain'."

He added: "Sending a reporter to my late uncle's memorial crosses a line of common decency."

Labour sources insisted the main service was a private event and it is understood the reporter learned about the service from somebody's Facebook page.

The reporter at one point held the hand of one of the grieving relatives and then twice asked her to comment on Ralph Miliband, the source said. But she refused to do so.

The source said that Greig confirmed the reporter had been sent by the newspaper's executives and on Wednesday evening was deeply apologetic.