The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) has criticised Daily and Sunday Express owner Richard Desmond for his £1.3m Ukip donation, asserting that he is abusing his position as the owner of the newspaper titles and failing to properly pay his staff.
Desmond announced his donation to the party on the Express website, he said: “I firmly believe in Ukip. It's a party for good, ordinary British people. It is not run by elitists.
"They are struggling to have a voice. They do not have a massive party machine or highly paid public relations people. They are human; they are not perfect and they do not pretend to be. But what they believe in is the best for the British people. They are the sort of people who will stand up for people who are struggling."
In response, Michelle Stanistreet, NUJ general secretary said: "It’s a complete outrage that Richard Desmond has delved deep in his pocket and handed over a £1million bung to Ukip, yet for the seventh year running has denied his workforce a pay rise.
“Desmond has used Express Newspapers as a cash cow for years, starving the titles of the resources needed to produce decent newspapers, all the while treating staff with contempt. Now, before he moves to sell the papers he’s long tired of, he’s trying to use the influence they bring to persuade anyone fool enough to indulge him that he’s due a peerage.”
Concluding: “That’s why his own staff have had enough and why the NUJ wants these newspapers to be sold to someone who cares about journalism, and who is prepared to give this business a future."
The condemnation from the NUJ is the latest in a long line of scathing attacks on the titles, which in January asserted the publications would be best in the hands of another owner.