Starmer confronted by angry voter in Liverpool over Sun newspaper columns

Sir Keir accused of ‘feeding into Tory ideology’

Aisha Rimi
Tuesday 26 July 2022 11:25 BST
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<p>Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers a speech  on Labour's plans for growing the UK economy</p>

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer delivers a speech on Labour's plans for growing the UK economy

Sir Keir Starmer was confronted by an angry voter in Liverpool over writing an article for The Sun newspaper in October 2021.

The Labour Party leader had previously promised not to give interviews to the paper during his leadership campaign at a hustings in the city in January 2020.

The publication is widely boycotted in Liverpool due to its coverage of the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

As a result, Sir Keir was met with a furious woman after giving a speech in the city on Monday, where he laid out the priorities for the next Labour government.

“I don’t know how you’ve got the guts to come to this city, after you’ve been interviewed and doing columns for The Sun newspaper, after the way we as a city were abused and the Hillsborough victims were abused by that paper,” said Audrey White.

“Secondly, you lied to us about uniting the party. I’m still a Labour Party member and you’ve expelled and witch hunted in the most vicious way I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. And I’ve been a member of the Labour Party for a long, long time.

“You have absolutely said you had ten pledges, you were going to carry on the Corbyn legacy, and ever since you’ve done nothing but distance yourself from the ideas which tens of thousands of people joined the Labour Party to support.

“All you’ve done is feed into the Tory ideology of not supporting strikes, of carrying on with the privatisation of our health service.”

The incident comes after the Labour leader delivered his speech laying out the priorities for the next Labour government, where he said his focus as a new prime minister would be on “growth, growth, growth”.

His plans for the party seemed to take a step back from the pledge he made while running for leadership to support “common ownership of rail, mail, energy and water”.

However, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said the policy would not be compatible with new “fiscal rules” the Party would adopt to restrain public spending.

In response, Sir Keir told reporters in Liverpool: “I take a pragmatic approach rather than an ideological one, I agree with what Rachel Reeves said this morning.

“Having come through the pandemic, it’s very important we have very, very clear priorities and that’s why we’ve set out fiscal rules already as an opposition.”

He added: “My mission is growth and underpinning that mission is a partnership arrangement with business, where the mission is set by an incoming Labour government and we empower business to work with us in delivering on that mission.”

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