Ed Miliband apologises for posing with The Sun after backlash of criticism from Labour figures

The Labour leader's picture sparked fury in Liverpool, where the paper has been subject to a boycott over its coverage of the Hillsborough disaster

Ed Miliband has apologised for any offence he may have caused when posing with a copy of The Sun, after angry Labour figures expressed criticism at the move.

David Cameron, Nick Clegg and the Labour leader were all photographed with a special edition of the newspaper on Thursday, which was being distributed free to mark the start of the England football team's World Cup campaign.

About 22 million free editions of the newspaper were delivered across the UK.

The photo sparked a backlash of criticism from Labour figures including Liverpool Walton MP Steve Rotheram, while Liverpool mayor Joe Anderson accused Mr Miliband of failing to take account of continuing fury over the tabloid's coverage of the disaster, which claimed 96 lives.

Labour Cllr Peter Mitchell, who attended the 1989 Hillsborough game, also threatened to resign from the party.

Mr Anderson condemned Mr Miliband's "support for the paper", saying: "Such clear support for that publication at any time would be wrong but at such a sensitive time is deeply shocking.

"My city was offended and insulted by the lies and smears peddled by The Sun and their hindrance to our fight for justice is something that will never be forgotten.

"For the leader of the Labour Party to make such an offensive gesture insults not only me but every person in the city.”

Read more: Residents refuse to accept free ‘World Cup Pride’ edition of Sun

In a statement, a spokesman for the Labour leader said: "Ed Miliband was promoting England's bid to win the World Cup and is proud to do so.

"But he understands the anger that is felt towards the Sun over Hillsborough by many people in Merseyside and he is sorry to those who feel offended.”

Mr Rotheram, who raised concerns with Mr Miliband face-to-face after the picture emerged, posted on Twitter: "He never meant any offence, but in my opinion it shouldn't have happened in the first place."

A spokesperson for The Sun said: "The Sun wants to thank Ed Miliband for having his picture taken and cheering on England to #DoUsProud in Brazil.

"The free edition of the Sun is an unashamedly positive celebration of Englishness, and it should come as no surprise that politicians on all sides are happy to get behind our uplifting message."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Personal Tax Senior

£28000 - £37000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...

Recruitment Genius: Customer and Markets Development Executive

£22000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company's mission is to ma...

Recruitment Genius: Guest Services Assistant

£13832 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This 5 star leisure destination on the w...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Account Manager

£20000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Account Manager is requ...

Day In a Page

Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border