A former president of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents has launched an astonishing attack on the federation.

Colin Finch, a newsagent from South Wales who was president of the NFRN between 2007 and 2008, blasted the federation in a letter published this week on newsagents' website Webbs of Leverington.

In the letter, Finch said he had felt compelled to speak out because "the events of the last month or so have caused me great distress". The NFRN has been heavily criticised by members following the departure of head of newspapers and magazines Stefan Wojciechowski last month.

Finch claimed the NFRN worked too closely with Booker and the Tobacco Manufacturers' Association and had "taken our eye completely off news and magazines". "We have shown a soft underbelly to the industry which has been well noted, with the recent reduction of terms of the Daily Star and a massive hike in carriage charges, in most cases a fiver plus," he wrote.

The NFRN should be "fighting for our members," he added, because "unless the National Executive Council and the new structure grow a backbone we will be picked off piece by piece."

The NFRN declined to comment on the letter.