Sun comes under fire for Brown letter
By politics.co.uk staff
The Sun has come under political fire for its campaign over the letter Gordon Brown sent to Jacqui Janes.
Westminster figures and lobby journalists have been distinctly uneasy over the story, which came perilously close to accusing the prime minister of indifference towards fallen troops.
This morning, business secretary Peter Mandelson launched into an outright attack of the campaign, accusing the Sun of “crude politicking”.
“If you look at the emails received overwhelmingly by the BBC, Sky News and the Sun itself from the public, they have clearly made up their minds about the Sun’s mixture of bad taste and crude politicking,” he told the Today programme.
“They have seen through it and they don’t want like it and they have said so.”
He added: “If you read the Sun you would think that the enemy that our brave troops on the ground are fighting is the British government.
“I mean, where do you see the reporting of our enemy, the Taliban, in Afghanistan? Where do you see the reporting in the Sun of our forces’ achievement and their bravery on the ground?
“I think that, actually, is the most significant aspect of all of this. And I think it’s really unattractive.”
Meanwhile, army veteran Ian Cox, sister to Ms Janes, told the Mirror he wanted to apologise to the prime minister for the incident.
Mr Cox, whose own son, Eoghan, is just back from Afghanistan, said: “It’s very wrong to hijack the grief of a woman who has lost her son to make a political point.
“I totally disagree with what my sister has said, as does most of her family. It is an absolute tragedy Jamie is dead. We cannot bring him back. But I do feel that my family owes the PM an apology after he has been so viciously attacked.”
The paper’s coverage also earned a tough editorial in the Independent yesterday, which suggested it was behaving irresponsibly during “volatile” times.
The Sun switched allegiance from Labour to the Tories to great fanfare during the Labour party conference in Brighton this summer.