Labour has come under fire for paying the Sun to advertise the policies of its party leader, Keir Starmer. The advert featured Starmer’s face and called on readers to “vote for change”, listing his “first steps.” While the exact cost of the advert remains unknown until after the election, industry sources suggest the rate for such a promotion would typically range in the tens of thousands of pounds. However, one of Labour’s own parliamentary candidates, Kim Johnson, criticised the move, citing the Sun’s false reporting on the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster, which is still boycotted in much of Merseyside.

Johnson, who is standing for re-election as a Labour MP in Liverpool Riverside, accused party leader Starmer of breaking his promise not to write in the Sun newspaper. During his leadership campaign in 2020, Starmer expressed support for boycotting the Sun and pledged not to talk to the newspaper during the contests. However, once he became party leader, he changed his stance and allowed the party to advertise in the Sun, as well as making regular appearances in the newspaper.

The Sun, which has backed the Conservatives in the last four elections, has yet to endorse a party in the current contest. However, within Labour leadership circles, winning the support of the Sun would be seen as symbolising how Starmer has changed the party. Yet, some still challenge the move, arguing that it is tone-deaf to Merseyside and its residents’ striking history with the Sun and its false reporting.

While it is not uncommon for political parties to buy advertising in newspapers during elections, in recent contests, parties have tended to spend their money on local news outlets rather than nationals. However, with increased spending limits for the current election, Labour is doing things it could not previously afford to do. The party has already bought a full-page advert in the Conservative-supporting Mail on Sunday aimed at “the pensioners of Britain” from the shadow work and pensions secretary, Liz Kendall

Read the full article from The Guardian here: Read More