Ed Miliband has robustly defended his father Ralph against the Daily Mail's 'smears' after it condemned the Marxist academic as "the man who hated Britain".
The Labour leader, who called the Mail article a "character assassination", stressed how his father had loved Britain after coming here during the Second World War.
"Fierce debate about politics does not justify character assassination of my father, questioning the patriotism of a man who risked his life for our country in the Second World War, or publishing a picture of his gravestone with a tasteless pun about him being a ‘grave socialist’", he wrote.
Mr Miliband was responding to an essay in the newspaper written by Geoffrey Levy, who examined the political beliefs of the Marxist academic and how that influenced his two sons. It questioned what Ralph Miliband "really" believed in adding "the answer should disturb everyone who loves this country".
The article, which will be published in Tuesday's Daily Mail, states: "As for the country that gave him and his family protection, the 17-year-old wrote in his diary: 'The Englishman is a rabid nationalist. They are perhaps the most nationalist people in the world . . . you sometimes want them almost to lose (the war) to show them how things are. They have the greatest contempt for the Continent . . . To lose their empire would be the worst possible humiliation'.
Mr Miliband quickly reacted via Twitter and was also given the right of reply by the Mail. He acknowledged that newspapers will criticise and attack politicians, commenting that "it comes with the job", but he insisted there was "no credible argument in the article or evidence from his life which can remotely justify the lurid headline and its accompanying claim that it would 'disturb everyone who loves this country'.
"Saturday's article referred to a single diary entry by my father, written as a 17 year old, describing the suspicion he found of the Continent and the French when he arrived here," he added.
"To ignore his service and work in Britain and build an entire case about him hating our country on an adolescent diary entry is, of course, absurd."
In his 1,065-word article, Miliband recounted how his father, as a 16-year-old Jew, had fled continental Europe during the war and who had then joined Britain's fight against the Nazis.
"His story will make you understand why he loved Britain. Britain saved him from the Nazis," he wrote.
"When I was growing up, he didn’t talk much about the Holocaust years because it was a deep trauma for both sides of my family. But he did talk about his naval service.
"The Daily Mail’s article on Saturday used just a few words to brush over the years my father spent fighting for his adopted country in the Second World War. But it played a bigger part in his life than that."
The Labour leader continued that his experiences as a refugee had helped Ralph Miliband to develop a love for his adopted country.
"Like most refugees, the security of our country was really important to him. And like some refugees, he owed his life to it. So my Dad loved Britain, he served Britain, and he taught both David and me to do the same."
Miliband accepted that "politicians like me" shouldn't be given "an easy ride" but he condemned the Mail's hatchet job on his father, saying: "There was a time when politicians stayed silent if this kind of thing happened, in the hope that it wouldn’t happen again.
"And fear that if they spoke out, it would make things worse. I will not do that. The stakes are too high for our country for politics to be conducted in this way. We owe it to Britain to have a debate which reflects the values of how we want the country run."
Responding to Miliband's article, a senior Labour source told the Huffington Post UK: "I think this shows Ed’s determination to have a political debate in this country that reflects the values and decency of its people."Suggest a correction