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Daily Mail hits back at Mehdi Hasan’s Question Time attack – leaking the letter he sent asking for a column

Daily Mail deputy political editor Tim Shipman has revealed the letter Mehdi Hassan – unrelenting in his hatred of the Mail on this week’s Question Time – wrote to editor Paul Dacre asking to become a columnist. On the politics show, Hasan, a writer for The Huffington Post, went on a rampage against the Mail over its controversial coverage of Ralph Miliband. As the crowd cheered, a deflated looking Quentin Letts, a Daily Mail sketch writer, looked on. “You want to talk about who hates Britain? This is a paper who said there was nothing natural about the death of Stephen Gately, who said French people should vote for Marie le Pen and the National Front, who attacked Danny Boyle for having a mixed race couple in his opening ceremony, who called Mo Farrah a plastic Brit,” he said. “So let’s have the debate about who hates Britain more, because it isn’t a dead Jewish refugee from Belgium who served in the royal navy. It’s the immigrant bashing, women hating, Muslim smearing NHS undermining, gay bating Daily Mail.” Shipman subsequently revealed the 2010 letter requesting a column via a series of tweets. Hasan said he valued the paper’s “passion, rigour, boldness, and of course, news values.” “I believe the Daily Mail has a vitally important role to play in the national debate, and I admire your relentless focus on the need for integrity and morality in public life and your outspoken defence of faith, and Christian culture, in the face of attacks from militant atheist and secularists,” he wrote. Since the leak, Hasan has told his Twitter followers he had “totally forgotten it” and that the “letter was half sincere half insincere.”