Labour wants endorsem*nt from The Sun after getting backing of Murdoch's Sunday Times (2024)

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Labour hopes to win The Sun’s backing next after The Sunday Times became the first Murdoch-owned newspaper to switch allegiance from the Conservatives and endorse Keir Starmer.

An editorial in Rupert Murdoch‘s flagship Sunday broadsheet said the Conservatives had “in effect forfeited the right to govern” and that it was “the right time for Labour to be entrusted with restoring competence to government”.

The newspaper has endorsed the Conservative Party in every election since 2005.

But the lukewarm support does not necessarily mean that all News UK titles will urge readers to vote Labour, i understands.

While newspaper circulations have declined, reducing their influence, the Murdoch papers have traditionally sought to back the winning side in elections.

Labour welcomed The Sunday Times switch, which accompanied an exclusive joint interview with the party’s leader and his shadow Chancellor, Rachel Reeves.

The Sunday Times backs Labour.

We’re not complacent about the election on Thursday or the scale of the challenge beyond.

Britain needs change. If you want change, you have to vote for it.

Be part of it. https://t.co/enGsLUMmj4

— Wes Streeting (@wesstreeting) June 30, 2024

🚨 NEW: The Sunday Times has endorsed the Labour Party at this election, saying the Tories have “forfeited the right to govern”.

A big blow to Rishi Sunak with the Murdoch title turning away from him.https://t.co/ghXvvlsadC

— Ben Bloch (@realBenBloch) June 29, 2024

But winning the support of The Sun, which has backed the Conservatives for the past 15 years, is seen as a symbolic prize by the Labour leader’s team.

Pat McFadden, Labour’s election campaign co-ordinator, told LBC: “We always welcome endorsem*nts, I think they matter.

“We have changed, broadened our appeal. You can’t win by just speaking to people who already agree with you.

“I would like The Sun to endorse us but it’s a decision for them.”

Labour also won the endorsem*nt of the Financial Times on Sunday night. In a leader column headlined “Britain needs a fresh start”, the paper wrote: “The Conservatives have run out of road. Labour must be given a chance to govern.”

Britain needs a fresh start https://t.co/2GlAt6W6fw

— Financial Times (@FT) June 30, 2024

Shadow Health Secretary Wes Streeting posted on X, formerly Twitter: “The Sunday Times backs Labour. Britain needs change. If you want change, you have to vote for it.”

But a News Corp insider said that the endorsem*nt was “more about the anti-Tory mood than support for Labour”.

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“If the Tories are heading for a hammering then the papers have to acknowledge that and remain relevant,” they said.

“But at The Sun, the feedback from readers is they are fed up with the Tories but they still don’t trust Labour on key issues like immigration, tax and union rights.”

The Sunday Times held fire until its final edition before polling day to make its call. It wrote in its election editorial: “We cannot go on as we are, and we believe it is now the right time for Labour to be entrusted with restoring competence to government.”

“Britain needs to do better as a place to live, work and do business.”

The period since 2016 was described as being “defined by political chaos that has fatally distracted the political class from those issues that matter most to voters – healthcare, schools and the economy”.

The switch was in stark contrast to other right-of-centre Sunday papers which led with dire warnings that a Starmer government would “wreck” Britain.

David Yelland, former editor of The Sun, wrote on X: “The Tory Sundays are in collective nervous breakdown as their power wilts, these front pages are wild howls at the moon.”

Exit stage right, the great UK Tory Sundays go out screaming, their relevance is ending…. their malignant era is OVER. pic.twitter.com/FgZsHCfD27

— David Yelland (@davidyelland) June 29, 2024

Ayesha Hazarika, a former Labour adviser, said: “Although newspaper endorsem*nts are not as potent as they once were, a significant move for The Sunday Times to back Labour after almost 20 years.”

Baroness Hazarika added: “Support for Scottish Labour in the Daily Record and Sunday Mail is also worth noting – Scotland is very important in this election.”

Sky News political reporter Ben Bloch described it as a “big blow to Rishi Sunak”.

Paul Mason, the former BBC journalist who sought selection as a Labour candidate, wrote on X: “Sunday Times becomes first Murdoch newspaper to back Labour … the rationale is functionalist: my car keeps breaking down so I must change it but it offers no clue as to why the car is so faulty… only that changing the salesman didn’t help either.”

Carol Vorderman, the TV personality-turned-anti-Tory campaigner, said: “The Sunday Times has endorsed Labour today… do you think that will change many people’s view? I don’t think so.”

The Sunday Mirror, as expected, urged readers to vote Labour, along with The Observer. The Independent used a blacked-out front page to urge people to vote for Labour.

The Sunday Express and Sunday Telegraph lined up for the Tories.

The Mail on Sunday wrote: “It is not all over yet. Vote Conservative on Thursday and we may yet escape a long and punishing season of hard Labour.”

i is unique among British national newspapers in refusing to endorse a party.

Sir Tony Blair convinced Mr Murdoch to back New Labour at the 1997 election after years of wooing.

But The Sun‘s full-throated backing for Sir Tony, at the launch of the 1997 general election campaign, has not been repeated for Sir Keir, who sanctioned prosecutions of a number of tabloid journalists over hacking allegations when he was director of public prosecutions.

The paper’s daily “Sun Says” editorial columns have been critical of the prospectus offered by Labour throughout the campaign.

The Sunday Times leader column may register less highly with voters than Sir Elton John’s call for a Labour government on Saturday.

Whilst the influence of newspaper endorsem*nts may be declining, The New York Times editorial calling for President Joe Biden to drop out of the US presidential election after his faltering debate performance last week caused shockwaves in Democrat circles.

Election 2024

The general election campaign has finished and polling day has seen the Labour Party romp to an impressive win over Rishi Sunak‘s Tories.

Sir Keir Starmer and other party leaders have battled to win votes over six weeks, and i‘s election live blog covered every result as it happened. Tory big beasts from Penny Mordaunt to Grant Shapps saw big losses, while Jeremy Corbyn secured the win in Islington North.

Nigel Farage’s Reform UK also outdid expectations with four MPs elected.

But what happens next as Labour win? Follow the i‘s coverage of Starmer’s next moves as the new Prime Minister.

Labour wants endorsem*nt from The Sun after getting backing of Murdoch's Sunday Times (2024)
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