Nick Clegg has attacked the Daily Mail for "overflowing with bile" about Britain, amid a backlash against the newspaper for making a personal attack on Ed Miliband's father.
The deputy prime minister said it was "quite understandable" that the Labour leader denounced the paper after it ran an article about his late father, Marxist academic Ralph Miliband, under the headline "The man who hated Britain".
Appearing on his weekly radio phone-in on LBC 97.3, he said that it was the Mail which "excelled" at doing down its own country.
"When I heard the Daily Mail accusing someone of saying that they didn't like Britain... I'm not a regular reader of this newspaper but every time I do open it, it just seems to be overflowing with bile about modern Britain," he said.
"They don't like working mothers, they don't like the BBC, they don't like members of the royal family, they don't like teachers, they don't like the English football team - the list goes on. Talk about kettles and pots.
"I think it was quite understandable that Ed Miliband should react like that because clearly what they had to say about his dad was just out of order. The Daily Mail is free to print what it likes, people like me are perfectly free to say that it's wrong.
"It seems to me that if anyone excels in denigrating and often vilifying a lot about modern Britain, it's the Daily Mail."
Clegg has had his own battles with the newspaper, which accused the Lib Dem leader of making a "Nazi slur on Britain" as part of a campaign against him during the 2010 general election.
Last night Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude also criticised the Daily Mail for its attack on Ralph Miliband. "Like Ed Miliband, I had a father who was in the public eye and I think it's quite unattractive to seek to ascribe to the son, the children, what the father has stood for," he said.
He told BBC Newsnight: "That is very unattractive, especially when that person is dead and can't reply for themselves. I think it probably will have done the Daily Mail some damage because it does look very unattractive and I think a lot of people will be pretty revolted by that approach."
However amid the ongoing debate about the future of press regulation, Maude added: "I don't think everything that is unattractive should be made illegal, no."