A regional daily is going head-to-head with a Trinity Mirror sister title over the future of the UK cruising industry.
The Liverpool Daily Post has been running a Get on Board campaign calling on the government to lift restrictions on allowing cruises to start and finish at Liverpool Pier Head.
But Newcastle daily The Journal has launched a bid to block the move, fearing it would damage the £33m-a-year cruise industry in the North-East, which supports 1,400 jobs.
The morning title says Liverpool was given funding to build its passenger terminal on condition it did not give the city a competitive edge over other ports, so the restrictions should remain in place.
Journal editor Brian Aitken said: “Liverpool has been blessed with a wonderful terminal and it is understandable that they want to make the best use of it to help grow their tourist economy.
“However there were very good reasons why there was a restriction put in place when they received £20m of public funding to build the terminal.
“Those reasons were still there when they failed with their first attempt to have the restriction lifted and those reasons are still there today.
“It is a nonsense to say that allowing Liverpool to have more turnaround cruises has the potential to benefit everyone – it will threaten a sector worth £33m to the North East economy and put at risk the jobs of 1,400 workers in this region.”
The Daily Post’s campaign has seen more than 2,500 people sign a petition calling for restrictions to be lifted which was presented to transport minister Mike Penning in London this week, along with a portfolio of stories published.
It says Merseyside could become a leading player in the worldwide cruise industry and backing for its campaign has been received by Chancellor George Osborne.
Post editor Mark Thomas said: “The Journal is passionate about defending the North-East, just as the Daily Post is about the Liverpool city region, and from time to time those interests are bound to conflict. We didn’t exactly see eye to eye about which city should be European Capital of Culture in 2008, for example.
“We actually believe the North-East case is wrong on this one, and that, far from damaging Tyneside, this licence for Liverpool would help open up new cruise business for the UK as a whole.
“Our key area is the potential for Transatlantic cruises, which is our historic strength, and Tyneside’s geography means it could never seek to compete in that area.
“But The Journal is reflecting the concerns being expressed in Newcastle, and so it should. Trinity Mirror doesn’t do party lines. Editors edit, and this is a great example of that in action.”