Newspaper review: Papers assess Miliband-Mail row

Sunday newspapers

The ongoing row between the Mail on Sunday and Labour over its coverage of Ed Miliband's father, Ralph, features in the news and comment pages of the Sunday papers.

The Sunday Telegraph leads on accusations the BBC has been biased in its coverage of the controversy which began when the Mail labelled Ralph Miliband "the mad who hated Britain".

Conservative MP Andrew Bridgen is writing to the BBC Trust demanding an investigation into its coverage, the paper says.

He accuses the corporation of being Labour's mouthpiece and giving the story too much prominence.

The paper also quotes former BBC newsreader Peter Sissons, who alleges a "basic failure of journalism".

In its comment pages, Bruce Anderson goes further, saying the BBC "loathes" Britain and accuses it of trying to "embarrass" the Mail ahead of press regulation negotiations.

The Observer takes a different tack, carrying criticism of the Mail on its front page.

The headmaster of Wellington College, Anthony Seldon, accuses the newspaper of behaving in a "demeaning and destructive" manner, while the Bishop of Bradford, the Right Reverend Nick Bains, labels it "corrupt and dangerous".

Neutralise UKIP

The paper also analyses the ownership structure of the Mail titles, which it describes as an "arcane network of financial vehicles based in tax havens".

In the Sunday Times, Tom Bower recounts how he attended Ralph Miliband's lectures and says he was "overly dismissive of Western democracy".

But the socialist academic is defended in unlikely quarters by the Marxist-turned Christian conservative Peter Hitchens.

Hitchens writes in the Mail on Sunday that the "touching" image of Ralph Miliband in his Royal Navy uniform makes the allegation he hated Britain "fade away".

Elsewhere the UK's relationship with Europe is back on the agenda.

The Conservative MP Adam Afriyie writes, also in the Mail on Sunday, that he will force a vote on bringing forward an in-out referendum to before the general election - defying his party's position.

The paper says Prime Minister David Cameron "reacted with fury" to the plan.

And as if on cue, according to the Express, Nick Clegg is to say that Mr Cameron's pledge to hold a vote in 2017 was little more than a short-term calculation to silence backbench rebels and neutralise UKIP.

'Cyber sleuths'

Following two more child-killing tragedies last week, the Independent on Sunday reports on the government's "frontline" graduate scheme for social workers.

In what it describes as a "rare boost" for the profession, the paper says that just 100 of the 1,000 applicants for the intensive two-year course will be given a space.

The Sun on Sunday celebrates what it describes as "a new crackdown on web kid filth".

It says a "crack team of cyber sleuths" is being set up to seek and block vile sites, while anyone searching for illegal pictures will see a warning flash up on their screens.

'Forget the Aga'

According to the Sunday Times Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is being threatened with libel action by his Labour shadow, Andy Burnham, over his allegation that Labour covered up failures in the NHS.

Meanwhile, the Mail on Sunday begins its serialisation of Vicky Pryce's prison diaries.

The economist - who was jailed after taking ex-husband Chris Huhne's speeding points - talks of the kindness and "huge sympathy" she received from guards and fellow inmates.

On the economy, there are fears of job losses in the brewing industry reported in the Observer.

Britain is apparently losing its thirst for alcohol, the paper says, putting pubs and jobs at risks.

But it could be good news for chimney sweeps. It's time to "forget the Aga", according to the Sunday Times, as the wood-burning stove has become the new badge of middle class respectability, with a five-fold increase in sales since 2007.

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