Murdoch’s Sun Endorses Starmer’s Labour Day Before UK Vote

(Bloomberg) -- Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper endorsed Keir Starmer and his opposition Labour Party to win the UK general election, a dramatic move in the British media landscape that illustrates the country’s shifting political sands.

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“It is time for a change,” The Sun said in an editorial published on the tabloid’s website on Wednesday. “It is time for Labour.”

The paper, which backed Tony Blair ahead of Labour’s landslide win in the 1997 general election but has endorsed the Tories since 2010, delivered a damning verdict on Rishi Sunak’s governing Conservatives after 14 years in power.

“They have become a divided rabble, more interested in fighting themselves than running the country,” it said. “Illegal and legal immigration have not been kept under control. Taxes have ballooned to the highest level since World War Two. Plotting against the leadership has been endless. Sleaze scandals — most recently gambling on the timing of the election — have broken public trust.”

The endorsement of Labour, which will be seen as an opportunist move with polls showing the party heading for a historic victory on Thursday, is all the more remarkable given Starmer was the chief prosecutor of England and Wales ahead of the 2014 trial of Murdoch’s newspaper staff who were accused of hacking the phones of politicians and celebrities.

“I’m delighted to have the support and backing of the Sun,” Starmer told broadcasters at a campaign rally in Scotland. “It shows how much this is a changed Labour Party, back in the service of working people.”

There was no respite for Sunak as three so-called MRP polls published on Wednesday projected a huge Labour win. YouGov said it saw Starmer’s party winning 431 seats for a parliamentary majority of 212. Focaldata put Labour on course for a 238-seat majority, while More In Common projected a majority of 210. If any of those scenarios play out in the election, it would exceed Tony Blair’s 1997 Labour landslide and represent a stunning loss for the Tories.

In its editorial, the Sun drew parallels between Labour under Blair and Starmer, who it said “has fought hard to change his party for the better, even if it is still a work in progress.”

“By dragging his party back to the center ground of British politics for the first time since Tony Blair was in No. 10, Sir Keir has won the right to take charge,” it said.

(Updates with fresh polls in seventh paragraph.)

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