Sun soars above Mirror as editors' e-mail war hots up

The Sun: selling for 10p in London

The Sun is seeing its lead over the Daily Mirror’s stretching to as much as 1.7 million copies and is hoping that this week’s 10p price tag in London will be the killer punch.

Such a gap has not been charted since 1998.

Sun editor David Yelland has told his journalists: "This war is serious. We were already winning, now we are in full battle charge."

Battle it certainly is, with all signs of truce forgotten, as Yelland and Mirror editor Piers Morgan engage in an e-mail fight.

Morgan retaliated with a message to his journalists in which he landed a right hook to Yelland’s jaw. "One unexpected and delightful bonus of Mr Murdoch’s £2m-a-week generosity is that the editor of The Sun will remain in his seat longer than we, or he, could have ever hoped for," he wrote.

Smack! Yelland released a left hook, telling his journalists: "The Mirror is dying. Like that great loser Hugh Cudlipp, Morgan has pitched his paper above his own readership (and up his own backside) and will pay the same price."

Morgan was outraged, coming out of his corner to repel "this quite disgusting attack on Hugh Cudlipp. Yelland wouldn’t have been fit to light one of Lord Cudlipp’s cigars. His decision to smear a dead man, and one of the greatest editors Fleet Street has ever seen, is a total disgrace."

Yelland said his paper’s Saturday sale was "simply outstanding". It is believed to have reached just over 4 million, giving The Sun an estimated average sales figure this week of close to 3.8 million.

Senior Sun journalists, while they applaud Mirror splashes on Third World issues, believe the relaunched paper’s content is putting off core readers. The Mirror sells just over 2 million.

Morgan, however, claims that where the Mirror is the same price as The Sun at 20p, "we are comfortably out performing them and returning sales increases of 10 per cent".

Two of its best-selling front covers in the past two months have been Anton Antonowicz’s reports on an Afghan execution victim and an Indian girl tethered to a post.

"So, serious news sells papers, official," claimed Morgan. "It proves to all the doubters that great journalism really can beat the tits." The Mirror will not be cutting its price in the Carlton area to 10p "for the simple reason that it is not in our plan," said Morgan.


By Jean Morgan

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