Virgin Trains and the Daily Mail are sparring in Britain after the rail operator said it had stopped stocking the newspaper on its west coast trains amid concern it was "not compatible" with the company's brand.
An internal memo in November took issue with the newspaper's "editorial position on issues such as immigration, LGBT rights and unemployment." The memo said that while thousands read the Daily Mail, "they will no longer be reading it courtesy of (Virgin Trains.)"
"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," Virgin said in a statement. "When we stocked the Daily Mail onboard, we sold one copy for every four trains."
The newspaper, which has been critical of Virgin founder Richard Branson and ever-increasing rail fares in Britain, shot back, suggesting there was more to it than that. It called the decision "disgraceful," and argued that Virgin was "censoring" the choice of newspapers "for political reasons."
The newspaper said it had been told Virgin was restricting sales to just three titles to save space, but says it's "no coincidence that all those titles, like Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson," favor remaining in the European Union.
"They informed us last November that to save space, they were restricting sales to just three newspapers: the Mirror, FT and Times," the Mail said. "They gave no other reason, but it may be no coincidence that all those titles, like Virgin owner Sir Richard Branson, are pro-Remain."
Mail readers rose to the newspaper's defense. Nigel Farage, a key supporter of Britain's departure from the 28-nation bloc, led the charge, tweeting: "We are heading in a worrying direction. Banning things because you don't like them solves nothing."