The Morning Star used its front page today to attack the Yorkshire Post as a “hypocrite newspaper” for reporting a Labour MP’s comments on anti-Semitism while continuing to publish a “race row” ex-Tory MP’s columns.
The Post was first to reveal this week that Chris Williamson MP had told a Momentum meeting in Sheffield that Labour had been “too apologetic” over the anti-Semitism allegations that continue to plague the party.
The Morning Star headline read: “Hypocrite newspaper ran race row Tory’s columns”. The strapline read: “Media double standards.”
Former MP Patrick Mercer writes regularly for the Post, despite having admitted to once telling a teenage soldier that she looked like “a bloody Jew”. He said it had been a “stupid thing to say”.
Mercer resigned as MP for Newark in 2014 amid reports he offered to ask questions in the House of Commons in exchange for cash, in contravention of parliamentary standards.
The Star’s Phil Miller wrote: “The newspaper that ‘exposed’ Chris Williamson MP for stating that Labour had been “too apologetic” over anti-Semitism allegations published a column just days earlier written by a disgraced Tory politician who once called an Israeli soldier a ‘bloody jew’.”
He said the Post had published more than a dozen columns by Mercer in the last 12 months.
Post editor James Mitchinson shared the Star’s front page on Twitter, alongside his response to it.
“Sorry: I’d like to apologise for being a hypocrite,” he said. “As the editor of a trusted newspaper, I should know better than to support one of my journalists in exposing racist hatred.
“My double standards have resulted in sunlight pouring on darkness. I’m sorry, darkness. Dawn is upon us.”
JPI Media, which owns the Post, declined to comment.
Derby North MP Williamson has been suspended by the Labour Party over his comments, pending an investigation.
He told the BBC: “Obviously if I’ve upset anybody it’s the last thing I wanted to do. Maybe I could have chosen my words a bit differently. And if people have been offended by that obviously I want to apologise for that.”
He added: “I am absolutely determined to clear my name about these complaints made about me.”