LONDON, U.K. - Alleging Virgin Trains of censorship, Daily Mail embroiled itself in a row, blaming the trains after it it stop selling the papers.
Virgin Trains announced it had stopped selling the newspaper on its services, and giving it away in first-class, because it was “not compatible” with its brand or beliefs.
The Daily Mail was one of the limited collection of newspapers and magazines that, Virgin Trains, which operates the west coast mainline, sold in its on-board shop.
The train operator runs trains from London to Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham and Scotland.
The train operator told staff in an internal memo it would stop stocking the title, saying its employees had raised concerns “about the Mail’s editorial position on issues such as immigration, LGBT rights and unemployment.”
The internal memo, which was first reported by the trade magazine PR Week, said, “Different viewpoints are often valuable, and it’s certainly true that we choose to take our news from different sources depending on our view of the world. Thousands of people choose to read the Daily Mail every day. But they will no longer be reading it courtesy of VT [Virgin Trains].”
The memo added, “There’s been considerable concern raised by colleagues about the Mail’s editorial position on issues such as immigration, LGBT rights, and unemployment. We’ve decided that this paper is not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs. We won’t be stocking the Daily Mail for sale or as a giveaway.”
However, the Daily Mail immediately hit back at Virgin Trains, saying it was “disgraceful” that the company had announced it was “censoring the choice of newspapers it offers to passengers” when the taxpayer was being forced to bail out Virgin’s East Coast franchise.
A Daily Mail spokesperson said, “It is disgraceful that, at a time of massive customer dissatisfaction over ever-increasing rail fares, and after the taxpayer was forced to bail out Virgin’s East Coast mainline franchise – a decision strongly criticized by the Mail – that Virgin Trains should now announce that for political reasons it is censoring the choice of newspapers it offers to passengers.”
Adding, “For the record, Virgin used to sell only 70 Daily Mails a day. They informed us last November that to save space, they were restricting sales to just three newspapers: the Mirror, FT and Times. They gave no other reason, but it may be no coincidence that all those titles, like Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson, are pro-remain.”
Confirming the move, a spokesperson for Virgin Trains said, “We regularly review the products we have on sale for customers in the shop onboard our west coast trains and after listening to feedback from our people, we decided in November 2017 that we would no longer stock copies of the Daily Mail. When we stocked the Daily Mail onboard, we sold one copy for every four trains.”