Sir Keir Starmer 'delighted' to receive backing of The Sun on day before polls open

Sir Keir Starmer has said he is "delighted" to receive the backing of The Sun after it endorsed him in the election.

The Labour leader said the newspaper's support for his leadership showed "just how much this is a changed Labour Party back in the service of working people".

The Sun gave its backing to Sir Keir Starmer today - the day before polls open - on the grounds he had "won the right to take charge".

The newspaper said the Labour leader had "fought hard to change his party for the better, even if it still a work in progress".

It said while there were still "plenty of concerns about Labour", including a lack of a "clear plan" to tackle both legal and illegal immigration and concerns over tax rises, it was "time for change".

By contrast, The Sun said the Conservatives had become a "divided rabble, more interested in fighting themselves than running the country".

Election latest: Under-threat shadow minister hits out at postal delays

It said while Mr Sunak had "done his best to right the economic mess he inherited" and had put forward many "common sense" policies it supported, the Tories had become "exhausted" by their years in power.

"All this upheaval, backstabbing and mayhem came at a price," it said.

"The Tories allowed a work-from-home civil service 'blob', activist quangos and human rights lawyers and judges to run rings around them, thwarting sensible policies. 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.

"Put bluntly, the Tories are exhausted.

"They need a period in opposition to unite around a common set of principles which can finally bring to an end all the years of internal warfare.

"It is time for a change."

The Sun coming out for a certain party has traditionally marked a decisive moment in general election campaigns.

In the 1992 general election, in which Sir John Major emerged victorious despite Labour hopes, The Sun boasted on its front page: "It's The Sun wot won it" and the mantra stuck.

👉 Click here to follow Electoral Dysfunction wherever you get your podcasts 👈

Its backing of Sir Tony Blair in 1997 represented a pivotal moment for the Labour Party and his leadership, given its reputation as a staunch supporter of the Conservative Party.

While the Sun lacks the clout it did in 1997 - its readership has declined from nearly 4m daily copies then to approximately 1.2m now - its decision to offer a lukewarm endorsement of Sir Keir is telling given the differences it has with the Labour leader in certain policy areas, chiefly immigration.

The Sun's backing for Labour comes as the party continues to enjoy a commanding lead in the polls, with Survation predicting on Tuesday that Sir Keir's party would win a majority of 318 seats, surpassing the 179 achieved by Sir Tony Blair in 1997.

Watch Sky News' election coverage live from 9pm on Thursday through to Friday

The pollster said Sir Keir would win 484 seats out of the total of 650, while the Tories would crash to 64 seats - just three more than the Liberal Democrats.

In its editorial, The Sun said it was "time for Labour" not just because of the state the Conservatives found themselves in but because of the remaining opposition parties.

Read more:
Conservative minister says Labour heading towards largest landslide ever
General election results: What time will we know who has won?

It argued that Reform UK, despite having a manifesto that had "struck a chord with millions", was nevertheless a "one-man band" with little chance of taking power, while it branded the Liberal Democrats "a joke".

"Which means that it is time for Labour," it said.

"He [Sir Keir] has a mountain to climb, with a disillusioned electorate and low approval ratings.

"But, by dragging his party back to the centre ground of British politics for the first time since Tony Blair was in No10, Sir Keir has won the right to take charge."