The Mail on Sunday is a British conservative newspaper, published in a tabloid format. Launched in 1982 by Lord Rothermere, it became Britain's biggest-selling Sunday newspaper following the closing of News of the World in July 2011. Its sister paper, the Daily Mail, was first published in 1896.
In July 2011, with the closure of the News of the World, The Mail on Sunday sold some 2.5 million copies a week, but by September that had fallen back to just under 2 million. It is owned by the Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT), but the editorial staff are entirely separate from the Daily Mail. It had an average daily circulation of 1,555,977 in March 2014.
The Mail on Sunday was launched on 2 May 1982, to complement the Daily Mail. The first story on the front page was the RAF's bombing of Port Stanley airport in the Falklands. The Daily Mail and General Trust (DMGT) had come up with some tough targets for the paper to produce. Initially DMGT wanted to sell a target of a circulation of 1.25 million. But the launch of The Mail on Sunday was not a success, as by the sixth week sales were just peaking at 700,000. The newspaper's sports coverage was seen to be among its weaknesses at the time of its launch. The Mail on Sunday's first back-page splash was a report from the Netherlands on the rollerskating world championships, which led to the paper being ridiculed in the industry.
Lord Rothermere, then the proprietor, brought in the Daily Mail's editor David English, later Sir David who, with a task force of new journalists, redesigned and re-launched The Mail on Sunday. Over a period of three and a half months, Sir David managed to halt the decline and circulation increased to 840,000. There were three new sections introduced, first was a sponsored partwork the initial one to be a cookery book; then a colour comic supplement (an innovation in the British Sunday newspaper market); and lastly, a magazine – You magazine.
The newspaper's reputation was built on the back of its next editor, Stewart Steven. The newspaper's circulation grew from around 1 million to just under 2 million during his time in charge. Although its sister paper the Daily Mail has invariably supported the Conservative party, Steven backed the Social Democratic Party in the 1983 General Election. The subsequent editors were Jonathan Holborow, Peter Wright and now Geordie Greig.
At the 2015 general election The Mail on Sunday urged its readers to prevent the country "veering left" with a Labour-SNP pact by voting Conservative. It urged UKIP voters to "please come home to the Conservatives" as their "protest has been registered".
2016 EU Referendum
Under Peter Wright’s editorship of the Mail on Sunday and his membership of the Press Complaints Commission (PCC), the Mail newspaper organisation withheld important evidence about phone hacking from the PCC when the latter held its inquiry into the News of the World's interception of voicemail messages. Specifically, the PCC was not informed that four Mail on Sunday journalists—investigations editor Dennis Rice, news editor Sebastian Hamilton, deputy news editor David Dillon and feature writer Laura Collins—had been told by the Metropolitan police in 2006 that their mobile phones had been hacked even though Wright, who was editor of the Mail on Sunday, had been made aware of the hacking. The facts did not emerge until several years later, when they were revealed in evidence at the News of the World phone hacking trial.
Wright became a member of the PCC from May 2008. He took over the place previously held by the Daily Mail's editor-in-chief Paul Dacre, who had served on the body from 1999 to April 2008. The PCC issued two reports, in 2007 and 2009, which were compiled in ignorance of the significant information from the Mail group about the hacking of its journalists’ phones, thereby reinforcing News International's "rogue reporter" defence, according to Guardian journalist Nick Davies - whose revelations had resulted in the News of the World phone hacking trial and subsequent conviction of Andy Coulson. The PCC's 2009 report, which had rejected Davies' claims of widespread hacking at the News of the World, was retracted when it became clear that they were true. Wright and Dacre both also failed to mention the hacking of the four Mail on Sunday staff in the evidence they gave to the Leveson inquiry in 2012.
- You – You magazine is a women's magazine featured in The Mail on Sunday. Its mix of in-depth features plus fashion, beauty advice, practical insights on health and relationships, food recipes and interiors pages make it a regular read for over 3 million women (and 2.3 million men) every week. The Mail on Sunday is read by over six million a week.
- Event – this magazine includes articles on the arts, books and culture and carries reviews of all media and entertainment forms and interviews with sector personalities. It also has columns by well-known people such as Piers Morgan. *Sport on Sunday – a separate 24-page section. It features coverage of the Premier League and Football League games from Sunday and important international football games, motor racing and many other sports.
- 1982: Bernard Shrimsley
- 1982: David English
- 1982: Stewart Steven
- 1992: Jonathan Holborow
- 1998: Peter Wright
- 2012: Geordie Greig