A regional daily has denied a claim by The Sun that it has launched a campaign against the newspaper.
The national tabloid made the accusation against the Hull Daily Mail after a row over the former’s reporting of New Year’s Eve celebrations in the Yorkshire city.
Two arrests were made in Hull in what The Sun termed “yob mayhem” in a piece headlined ‘Scrapital of Culture’, as the city marked the start of its year as UK Capital of Culture.
The story drew criticism from former Deputy Prime Minister and Hull East MP John Prescott and, in a follow-up piece, the Mail said The Sun “risks an angry backlash” in the city.
Defending its coverage, a spokesman for The Sun told Press Gazette: “The Sun ensured our piece was an accurate account of events in Hull on New Year’s Eve, based on the testimony of the city’s top police officer, eye-witness accounts, and live photographs sent by picture agencies and posted on social media.
“We’re baffled by the Hull Daily Mail and others’ campaign against The Sun, particularly when the HDM also reported the violent scenes and police concerns on 1 January.”
But HDM executive editor Jamie Macaskill told HTFP there was “no campaign” against The Sun.
The Mail itself ran a piece on what Humberside Police described as “alcohol fuelled violence” during the New Year’s Eve celebrations, although its edition on Monday focused on the following day’s City of Culture launch, with a front page wrap commemorating the occasion.
He told HTFP: “We covered both the arrests in Hull on New Year’s Eve and the fantastic City of Culture launch on New Year’s Day, which included extensive coverage online as well as an eight page wrap in print. We did not try to fuse the stories together as they were clearly two very different scenarios.
“The Sun article tried to make the connection including some fairly odd quotes from an unnamed ‘party-goer’ saying: ‘If New Year’s Eve is anything to go by it will certainly give our continental cousins a taste of what a night out here can entail.’ If that’s a party-goer out on New Year’s Eve in Hull then I’m (former Hull City footballer) Dean Windass.
“Like every city in the UK, there was some trouble in Hull on New Year’s Eve but the police figures from the City of Culture events show the broader, more accurate picture; with 60,000 people attending the City of Culture launch there were no arrests, no injuries and no police incidents.
“Hull is a great city with great people and we are hugely proud of our status as City of Culture. The fact there was no trouble at all is no surprise.”
In November, Andy Sykes, deputy editor of Blackpool daily The Gazette, appeared on BBC Radio 5 Live to defend his paper’s patch after The Sun claimed “local louts” had been responsible for a supposed attack on Strictly Come Dancing star Gorka Marquez.
Mr Marquez made no complaint to Lancashire Police and an investigation was dropped last month due to a lack of evidence.