Boris Johnson criticised as “absurd” Virgin Trains stopping gross sales of ‘Every day Mail’ on its trains (Reuters)
London: British international minister Boris Johnson criticised as “absurd” a choice by Virgin Trains to cease promoting the Every day Mail newspaper on its trains, including that it was an assault on free speech.
The dispute pitted pro-Europe billionaire Richard Branson, founding father of Virgin, in opposition to the eurosceptic and right-leaning Every day Mail, after a memo despatched to Virgin Trains workers that the newspaper was “under no circumstances suitable” with the corporate’s model and would not be offered on its trains.
“Absurd ban on Every day Mail by Virgin! Pompous, censorious and unsuitable #virginontheridiculous,” Johnson stated in a tweet.
A spokeswoman for Virgin Trains stated the agency determined to cease carrying the newspaper in November final yr “after suggestions from our folks”.
The memo to workers went additional than that and stated there was “appreciable concern raised by colleagues concerning the Mail’s editorial place on points corresponding to immigration, LGBT rights, and unemployment.”
The Every day Mail, which is owned by Every day Mail and Basic Belief, stated Virgin had initially advised the paper it was dropping it to avoid wasting area on its trains.
“It’s disgraceful that … Virgin Trains ought to now announce that for political causes it’s censoring the selection of newspapers it presents to passengers,” the Every day Mail stated in an announcement, including that the prepare firm would solely promote the Mirror, Monetary Occasions and the Occasions.
“It might be no coincidence that every one these titles, like Virgin proprietor Sir Richard Branson, are pro-Stay.”
The Every day Mail has been on the centre of quite a few spats over free speech, as marketing campaign group “Cease Funding Hate” have lobbied firms to finish their promoting within the newspaper.
In November, stationery retailer Paperchase apologised for a promotion in weekend editions of the newspaper after a backlash from campaigners.
Defenders of the Mail say the marketing campaign in opposition to the newspaper infringes on freedom of the press.
A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa Might stated that the choice to inventory the Every day Mail was a matter for Virgin Trains however that press freedom was essential.
“(Might) has all the time been clear on the significance of a free press to our democracy and to our society,” the spokesman stated.
(Reporting by Alistair Smout; enhancing by Stephen Addison)
© Thomson Reuters 2018
(Apart from the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV workers and is revealed from a syndicated feed.)