The train company announced last week that it would no longer carry copies of the tabloid on its west coast route, saying the paper “is not compatible with the VT brand and our beliefs”.
The move sparked a scathing response from the Daily Mail, who called the decision “disgraceful” and an “attack on free speech”.
But in a blog post on Monday morning, billionaire entrepreneur Branson said that Virgin Train teams had been instructed to restock the Daily Mail, adding that company’s sales policy “should not single out individual media titles”.
“Freedom of speech, freedom of choice and tolerance for differing views are the core principles of any free and open society,” the 67-year-old wrote.
“While Virgin Trains has always said that their passengers are free to read whatever newspaper they choose on board West Coast trains, it is clear that on this occasion the decision to no longer sell The Mail has not been seen to live up to these principles.”
Branson continued: “Brian [Souter] and I agree that we must not ever be seen to be censoring what our customers read and influencing their freedom of choice. Nor must we be seen to be moralising on behalf of others.
“Instead we should stand up for the values we hold dear and defend them publicly, as I have done with The Mail on many issues over the years.”
A spokesperson for the Daily Mail said that its readers who travel on Virgin Trains will be “delighted” by the news.
“We welcome Sir Richard Branson and Brian Souter’s support for freedom of speech, which is a cornerstone of our democracy, and his decision to instruct Virgin Trains to restock the Mail,” they said.