Sir Richard Branson has ordered virgin trains to restock the “daily mail”, saying that a ban on the sale of the railway company amounted to censorship.
Branson said the decision of virgin trains, which stopped selling the “daily mail” in November after deciding it was “not compatible” with its brand or belief, were adopted without his knowledge.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance of different views of the basic principles of any free and open society,” he said in a blogpost. “While virgin trains have always said that their passengers are free to read all the Newspapers that they choose to Board the West coast trains, it is clear that in this case the decision not to sell mail were not seen to live up to these principles.”
The news of the ban came last week when documents were posted telling staff members expressed concern about the position of the editorial Board of the “daily mail” on issues such as Immigration, LGBT rights and unemployment.
“Daily mail” said it was “disgraceful” that the company announced “the censorship of the Newspapers that it offers passengers” when the taxpayer was forced to bail out of the franchise, virgin East coast.
Virgin trains is a separate rail franchise from Virgin trains East coast, but also joint ventures, secured transport company stagecoach and Virgin Branson.
Branson, who remains a supporter, said the ban was “not part of a Grand campaign, or according to my will”.
“We shouldn’t ever be censorship, that our customers read and influence their freedom of choice,” he said. “We should not be moralizing on behalf of others. Instead, we should stand up for the values that we cherish and publicly defend them as I did with mail on many issues over many years.”
Branson has asked virgin trains to reconsider the decision to ban the “daily mail” and fill up the title while it makes a “full review” of the sales policy. “This policy should not single out individual publications,” he said.