London: The billionaire Sir Richard Branson has ordered Virgin Trains in Britain to lift a ban imposed on the Daily Mail newspaper – a publication often at the centre of controversy for its anti-immigration, pro-Brexit and right-wing stances.
The ban on sales on Virgin Trains prompted sharp criticism from the newspaper and senior figures in the Tory government, including foreign secretary Boris Johnson, who tweeted: “Absurd ban on Daily Mail by Virgin! Pompous, censorious and wrong.”
Sir Richard, who opposed Brexit, said he did not even know that staff at Virgin Trains had decided to ban sales of the paper until he read about it in the media.
He insisted it was not a part of any “grand campaign or at my behest”.
He said he and Brian Souter, the chairman of Stagecoach, which holds a 49 per cent stake in the Virgin Rail Group, had listened carefully to complaints that “this move has been seen as censorship.”
He said a full review was underway about what publications would be offered for sale on-board Virgin Trains, but stated no specific publication would be singled out in the process.
“Brian and I agree that we must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read and influencing their freedom of choice,” Sir Richard said.
“Nor must we be seen to be moralising on behalf of others. Instead we should stand up for the values we hold dear and defend them publicly, as I have done with the Mail on many issues over the years.
“So Brian and I have instructed our team at Virgin Trains to reconsider this decision and re-stock the Daily Mail while they undertake a full review of their sales policy, making clear that this policy should not single out individual media titles.” Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance for differing views are the core principles of any free and open society – so we have decided to reconsider our people’s decision over @VirginTrains stocking the Daily Mail https://t苏州夜场招聘/hqwPulb2glpic.twitter老域名购买/Qetcr9rMzp??? Richard Branson (@richardbranson) January 15, 2018We’ve listened to you about this weekend’s newspaper promotion. We now know we were wrong to do this – we’re truly sorry and we won’t ever do it again. Thanks for telling us what you really think and we apologise if we have let you down on this one. Lesson learnt.??? Paperchase (@FromPaperchase) November 20, 2017