Daily Mail admits Miliband gravestone pun a mistake

The Daily Mail has admitted it was a mistake to publish a picture making light of Ed Miliband's dad's death.

Deputy editor Jon Steafel said it was an "error of judgement" to publish a photo of Ralph Miliband's gravestone alongside the caption 'grave socialist'.

"As a matter of fact when Ed Miliband made a complaint about that on Saturday evening, in fact he spoke to me personally, I personally arranged for that picture to be removed from our website," Steafel told Newsnight.

"I think using that picture was an error of judgement," he admitted.

Asked whether he stood by the claim that Ralph Miliband "hated Britain", he explained "it's a well established principle of all journalism that the headline and the piece should be read in conjunction with each other."

Pushed further, he said the headline "the man who hated Britain" was "entirely justified" by Miliband's published views.

Steafel's comments came after politicians from all parties spoke out in defence of Ed Miliband's stance.

David Cameron said he understood why the Labour leader had spoken out.

"If anyone had a go at my father I would want to respond very vigorously," he said.

"There’s not a day goes by when you don’t think about your dad and all that he meant to you, so I completely understand why Ed would want to get his own point of view across."

Nick Clegg added that "I support [Ed Miliband] defending his dad. Politics should be about playing the ball, not the man, certainly not the man's family."

Conservative MP Zac Goldsmith went further, attacking the paper's support for the Nazi party in the run up to the second world war.

"Has [Daily Mail owner] Rothermere aplogised? Have we ever had an apology from the Mail, or the Mail group, in relation to their history?" he said at a fringe event at the Conservative party conference yesterday.

A visibly angry Miliband conducted a number of interviews about the piece yesterday describing the Mail's claims as "a lie."

Labour today urged the paper to say sorry.

"The newspaper should now apologise for this error of judgment," a spokesperson said today.

"We continue to believe that the article headlined 'The man who hated Britain' and a subsequent article which described Ralph Miliband's legacy as 'evil' were smears."

The Mail today continued their attack on Ralph Miliband, publishing a piece linking his views to Stalin's gulags and the death of 2,750,000 people.