UK election: major tabloid The Sun backs Labour over Rishi Sunak’s Tories

Major UK tabloid The Sun said on Wednesday it was “time for Labour”, backing the opposition party for election victory and calling the ruling Conservatives “exhausted” and divided after 14 years in power.

Political leaders of all stripes have long courted the influential newspaper, which is part of Rupert Murdoch’s global News Corp group and last backed Labour during Tony Blair’s tenure from 1997.

Announcing its endorsement, the famously playful tabloid previewed its front page for Thursday, when Britons vote and are widely predicted by polls to return Labour to power by a landslide.

“Time for a new manager,” it headlined, in a football-themed cover to coincide with Euro 2024, adding: “and we don’t mean sack [England team manager Gareth] Southgate!”

The Sun said in a lengthy editorial that it supported many of beleaguered Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s policies, including the contentious plan to deport thousands of asylum seekers to Rwanda.

But it added the party’s rule over the last 14 years had been “often chaotic” and that it has “become a divided rabble, more interested in fighting themselves than running the country”.

“Put bluntly, the Tories are exhausted,” the paper concluded.

On centre-left Labour, The Sun said its leader Keir Starmer, who would become prime minister as the leader of the largest party in parliament, had “won the right to take charge”.

It praised him for “dragging his party back to the centre ground of British politics for the first time since Tony Blair” was in power, in a dig at its leftward tilt in recent years, in particular under veteran socialist former leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He oversaw the party’s worst performance since 1935 at the last election in December 2019.

“There is no doubt Sir Keir Starmer has fought hard to change his party for the better, even if it is still a work in progress,” the tabloid said.

Britain’s Prime Minister Rishi Sunak delivers a speech at a Conservative Party campaign event at the National Army Museum in London on Tuesday. Photo: AP

The Sun’s endorsement has been coveted by successive political leaders from the two main parties because it has a track record dating back decades of correctly siding with the eventual winner.

Most famously, it took credit in 1992 for Labour’s unexpected loss to the Tories, with a front page proclaiming “It’s The Sun Wot Won It”.

On the day of the election, it had come out strongly against Labour leader Neil Kinnock, headlining: “If Kinnock wins today will the last person to leave Britain please turn out the lights.”

Britain’s print media is predominantly Conservative-leaning but in recent days Labour has won the backing of the Financial Times, the Economist and the Sunday Times.



Read More

Leave a Reply