MPs scolded the government today for taking six weeks to concoct a flimsy Yes Minister-style letter failing to explain why the Morning Star is barred from talks on press regulation.
Morning Star editor Richard Bagley wrote to Prime Minister David Cameron and Culture Secretary Maria Miller on December 3 asking why the paper was not invited to meetings of national newspaper editors following up the Leveson report.
A deafening 44-day silence followed as Whitehall brains puzzled over how to explain away the blatant discrimination against Britain's only socialist daily paper.
Then suddenly a letter arrived this week from Ed Vaizey, the second-ranking minister at the culture and media department.
Mr Vaizey did ask Mr Bagley to accept his apologies for the late reply.
The minister also added: "I appreciate your disappointment at not being included in the meeting on December 4."
But the letter then plunged into classic Whitehall-speak by stating that Ms Miller had "spoken to editors of the majority of our national titles, but I'm afraid could not engage directly with editors of all newspapers."
It failed to mention that the meeting on December 4 hosted by Ms Miller was attended by the editors of every national newspaper except the Morning Star - since the paper was the only one not invited.
Easington Labour MP Grahame Morris declared today: "This decision to exclude the Morning Star, a long-established national newspaper, is quite simply outrageous.
"It is political bias of the worst kind."
Morning Star Parliamentary Readers and Supporters Group convener Ian Lavery MP said he would immediately write a letter to the Culture Minister demanding a proper response.
"I find it extraordinary that the letter from Mr Vaizey gives no explanation whatsoever as to the reasoning behind their decision to exclude the Morning Star.
"I am challenging the minister to explain why it was the only national newspaper not to be invited.
"The Star is not a new kid on the block. It has survived for 83 years and should be part of any discussions the government may wish to have not just on Leveson but the media in general."
Islington North MP Jeremy Corbyn said he would put parliamentary questions down demanding an explanation from Mr Vaizey.
Plaid Cymru MP Jonathan Edwards declared: "I will be supporting the efforts of my parliamentary comrades to raise this issue with the government."
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