Skip to main content

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any ad blockers are switched off, or add to your trusted sites, and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us.

The Sun humiliates itself by endorsing Labour

The paper hates Keir Starmer, but couldn’t bear not to back a winner

Photo: Dan Kitwood/Getty

In the end, it just couldn’t bear not to be on the winning side. Even though it’s been supporting the other team from the word go. 

The Sun came out on Wednesday night to declare that “we need a new manager”. It loves the present incumbent and everything he’s doing. It doesn’t care much for the only other contender and disagrees with much of what it suspects he’s planning.

But nevertheless Rishi Sunak has had his go and we’re not winning any silverware; it’s time to give Keir Starmer a chance.

This isn’t the Sun speaking, but its readers – almost half of whom are expected to vote Labour on July 4. After five years of rubbishing Starmer and his party, including for most of this campaign, the paper has jettisoned everything it believes in in the hope of a better tomorrow. 

For six weeks, it has run leader after leader demanding of Labour “tell us what you stand for”, “answer these questions”, while promoting the Tory policies that will now fall by the wayside. It never got the answers to its questions, yet now it is telling readers to take a punt. 

Even as it explains its reasoning in a leader published online ahead of tomorrow’s paper, it lists everything it approves of about Sunak and every qualm it has about Labour. But then it tries to square the circle by finally confronting what everyone in the country has been seeing for years – the plotting, the mayhem, the sleaze – before concluding: “Put bluntly, the Tories are exhausted.”

Reform is a one-man band, the LibDems are a joke, so it’s time for Labour – the least worst option. The endorsement is hardly ringing. But it’s not there for the benefit of the Labour Party, it’s there to try to convince the world that the Sun is still relevant. 

There has been no courtship, there were no trips to Australia to pay homage to the great man. It is the Sun that is doing the wooing. Labour aren’t too fussed and look to have won the election handily anyway.

And how this humbling pie must be sticking in the craw. For the man the Sun now wants to see as prime minister is the very man who, as a former director of public prosecutions, it blames for many of its journalists standing in the dock.

 Ryan Sabey, whose byline has been at the top of many of the anti-Labour stories that have appeared over the past six weeks, was actually found guilty of aiding and abetting misconduct in public office, although the conviction was eventually quashed. Fellow reporter Nick Parker also found himself with a criminal record as a result of Operation Elveden.

These are not men who will look kindly on Sir Keir and many of their colleagues – political commentator Trevor Kavanagh most vociferously – share their animus. All the while conveniently forgetting that they were thrown to the wolves by their employer to save the skins of more valued personnel, notably Rebekah Brooks.

Over the six-week campaign, the Sun has devoted 146 news pages to the election. Eighty of those were dominated by stories either favourable to the Tories or critical of Labour. Only 16 reflected Starmer’s party in a positive light. 

There have been ten ‘The Sun Says’ comment pieces praising the Conservatives, 15 critical of Labour, but – until now – only two with anything good to say about Starmer’s party and just the one finding fault with the Tories. That was on June 8, when the Sun could hardly help but step in line with the general condemnation of Sunak for his early return from the D-Day commemorations. 

Before the election was called, political editor Harry Cole was doing his best to smear Starmer, accusing him of dashing around the world trying to release child murderers, while proudly posing with Sunak after yet another friendly interview. Everyone knows which side the paper is really on. But it only sings when it’s winning.

Now the Sun’s sister paper is the only one in Fleet Street yet to declare its hand. Will it join in the bowing and scraping to the incoming regime tomorrow? The Times’s call on a British general election is – or has been until now – a document that goes down in history. 

But on Wednesday morning it looked as though editor Tony Gallagher was going to duck it. For rather than advise readers on where to put their cross, he tacitly conceded defeat and gave over the double-length leader to a rather generous political obituary for Rishi Sunak.  But maybe even now he is beavering away, crafting a grudging and craven capitulation to be served tomorrow. 

Gallagher is clearly preoccupied, since Wednesday’s front page looked as though someone was having a joke – or pulling a last-day-in-the-office stunt. Or did the editor really think that that top-of-the-page blurb sat well atop that splash about his erstwhile jogging partner finally lumbering to life amid the dying embers of the election campaign?

Two front-page elements that brought into close proximity the words “sperm donor”, “Johnson” and “pregnant”? It’s a wonder there wasn’t a subdeck about going down fighting.

That leader, which came both to bury and praise Sunak, noted how assiduously the prime minister had worked to restore faith in government after the ignominy of his predecessors. “Whereas Ms Truss was brought low by ideological dogmatism,” it wrote, “the misconduct of Boris Johnson in public office, exemplified by, but not limited to, illicit parties in Downing Street, caused outrage among voters.” 

“Misconduct in public office” you say? Yet this is the man whose picture and photograph dominate the front page. Because what he says matters? Or because he is box office? It’s Farage syndrome all over again. 

The public “love them” and so the public must have them, even if they have no contribution to make to the country beyond their own self-serving agendas. 

Rather like the Sun.

Hello. It looks like you’re using an ad blocker that may prevent our website from working properly. To receive the best experience possible, please make sure any ad blockers are switched off, or add to your trusted sites, and refresh the page.

If you have any questions or need help you can email us.