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Why the Northern Echo will carry on employing Reverend Mullen

October 13th, 2008Posted by in Newspapers

Today the editor of the Northern Echo, Peter Barron, again addresses the issue of his controversial columnist the Reverend Peter Mullen.

Barron writes that he told Mullen that his comments on Mullen’s personal blog, which were extremely derogatory towards gay people, were ‘not funny’ and had placed Barron in a ‘difficult position’.

Today Barron writes:

“Should I go on employing someone as a columnist who had written such comments, albeit on a private blog which has nothing to do with The Northern Echo? I know there will be those who believe that the answer should be a resounding “no”.

The Northern Echo is a broad church, with columnists representing all shades of opinion.

Their views do not necessarily coincide with the views of the paper.

I do not always share Peter Mullen’s views.

But I regard him as a high quality, thought-provoking writer. His decision to remove the offending remarks from his website, and to issue an unreserved apology for causing offence, were essential steps if he were to continue writing for The Northern Echo. His column tomorrow will be an expression of regret.”

So Mullen keeps his column. But Mullen’s most notable position is not as a regional newspaper columnist. As Rod Liddle pointed out in yesterday’s Sunday Times, Mullen is also chaplain of the London Stock Exchange. Liddle wrote:

“Mullen’s principal worry is about the act of buggery – although he seems censorious about it only when it takes place between two consenting adults, rather than when it is applied without consent to the entire country.”

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