Newly-returned shadow frontbencher Wes Streeting has a star showing in The Sun today off the back of Labour’s new attack line that kids from the poorest parts of Britain are twice as likely to be mugged than their posher peers. This is far from a new media strategy from Streeting who has often defended speaking to The Sun in the face of virtue signalling left-wing Tweeters.
Yep. Voters read the Sun and we absolutely want to talk to them.— Wes Streeting MP (@wesstreeting) August 2, 2021
In 2016 Wes proffered a longer defence of his interactions with the paper:
“Refusing to engage with the Sun because of disagreements with their editorial positions is self-defeating: Labour won’t win elections by talking to ourselves or by ducking debates”
While Wes’s position hasn’t changed, his 2016 statement came during his pre-shadow cabinet career, and before Southside’s communications team dictated what shadow ministers say to whom. During Sir Keir’s leadership election, he proudly boasted a Liverpool audience, “I certainly won’t be giving any interviews to The Sun during the course of this campaign.” His hardline position was applauded by those in and out the room, with Ash Sarkar commending the then-frontrunner:
Exceptionally strong answer from Keir Starmer on media bias and a vow never to give an interview to The Sun.— Ash Sarkar (@AyoCaesar) January 18, 2020
Co-conspirators will have to guess whether Starmer’s previous Sun hate was playing to an audience or whether Labour’s new Sun flirting is a conscious concession to common sense. Labour’s swathe of new Blairite advisers and spinners in recent weeks will surely have changed a few attitudes…