Keir Starmer sparked outrage among Labor MPs representing Merseyside after writing an opinion piece for The Sun.
The Labor leader used a newspaper article in an attempt to re-focus on the government by blaming ministers for food and fuel shortages. But he has aroused the ire of those watching a boycott of the Sun for his role in vilifying the victims of the Hillsborough disaster.
Frontbench Labor MPs were among those who challenged Starmer, who said during a speech in Liverpool last January during the leadership election: “This town has been hurt by the media – the Sun… I will certainly not be giving an interview to the Sun during this campaign.
Alison McGovern, the shadow Minister of Culture and Sports, who represents Wirral South, said she spoke to Starmer about her decision, adding in a tweet: “I don’t buy the S * n, nor do they speaks. It’s my decision. I told Keir why. Shadow Trade Minister Bill Esterson, MP for Sefton Central, wrote, “I’m not buying the S * n. I won’t write for the N.
Kim Johnson, MP for Liverpool Riverside, said she and others felt “deep anger” that Starmer wrote an article for the newspaper after spending “15 years demonizing Liverpool fans, blaming them for the disaster of Hillsborough… before offering a half-hearted apology for their lies and slander ”.
She added that she asked Starmer to come to Liverpool to meet with the families of the 97 people unlawfully killed in the 1989 crash at Sheffield Wednesday football ground. In the aftermath of the disaster, The Sun published allegations under the headline The Truth, including reports that Liverpool fans plucked the pockets of those who died. During the inquiries into the deaths, the claim was debunked and supporters were cleared of any responsibility for the tragedy.
Peter Dowd, MP for Bootle, said that only a few weeks ago he and other Labor politicians in the region spoke during a debate in the House of Commons on justice for victims of public disasters, like Hillsborough. “I cannot in any way support, condone or apologize for Keir Starmer to write for the S * n – whatever the reason,” he wrote.
Steve Rotheram, Labor Mayor of urban Liverpool, said: “Today’s article has unsurprisingly shocked many people in my area. The S * n is not and never will be welcome here. Len McCluskey, former Unite boss from Liverpool, asked: “How dare he write for the S * n?”
Starmer, fresh out of a party conference marred by internal bickering over rule changes and his deputy Angela Rayner calling senior Tories “scum”, used her post on Sunday to warn people could have “another Christmas spoiled by this Prime Minister’s lack of planning “and called for emergency measures such as issuing more visas to allow European workers to drive trucks and help prepare poultry.