Jeremy Corbyn has joined in the condemnation of Sir Keir Starmer after he penned an op-ed for The Sun newspaper.
The former Labour leader said he stood with Ian Byrne and “the people of Liverpool” after his replacement personally penned an article for the tabloid, calling out the prime minister’s incompetence and crediting the military for “stepping up when asked”.
Byrne, the MP for Liverpool West Derby, said families of the victims, survivors and the city itself “smeared by the rag” would feel “profoundly betrayed” and anyone who writes for the paper is “not fit” to be Labour leader.
Kim Johnson, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, said she felt “deep anger” and has written to Sir Keir asking him to come to Liverpool to meet the families of those killed and survivors.
Paula Barker, Labour MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said on Twitter: “I do not subscribe to the view that we need to have a relationship with the rag in order to win an election – this is 2021 not 1997.
“He does not do this in my name.
“Nevertheless, I apologise to everyone in my city, especially Hillsborough families and survivors.”
Steve Rotheram, Mayor of Liverpool City Region, added: “My position on that (supposed) newspaper and Labour politicians engaging with it has not changed.
“The piece published today has unsurprisingly upset a lot of people across my region.
“The S*n is not and never will be welcome here.
“I have been in touch with Keir to reiterate my position and express the disappointment that I and many others feel.”
Joanne Anderson, directly elected Mayor of Liverpool, tweeted: “@UKLabour should never work with this paper.”
Sir Keir promised not to give interviews to the tabloid during his leadership campaign in January 2020.
The boycott of The Sun came after it published a notorious, and erroneous, front page, headlined The Truth, alleging blame for the disaster laid with drunken Liverpool fans.
After a justice campaign spanning three decades, victims’ families and survivors were vindicated in 2016, when a jury at the inquests unanimously ruled the fans were unlawfully killed and Liverpool supporters played no part in causing the fatal crushing at the Leppings Lane end of the Hillsborough ground on April 15, 1989.
The Sun has made a front-page apology in 2012 in the wake of the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel, which led to the 2016 inquests, and again at the conclusion of those inquests.