Liverpool FC fan group Spirit of Shankly have told Mersey News Live that Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer “fell short of expectations” by writing in The Sun newspaper.
The group has written a letter to Sir Keir, condemning him for writing in The Sun and demanding he apologise to the city, where the newspaper is still boycotted after its reporting of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Spirit of Shankly (SOS), are an LFC fan group who engage in community work around the city and liaise with the club regarding fan issues.
Their letter states how they are “angered” to read that Sir Keir had engaged with The Sun. The newspaper, which is still boycotted in Liverpool, is seen as an enemy of the people of the city by many, especially the football fans.
Speaking to Mersey News Live, a spokesperson for Spirit of Shankly said: “Politics belongs in football and football belongs in politics.
“It’s important fan representatives have access to elected representatives from all parties but there are times when individuals fall short of expectations. Starmer has done that and we have spelt out what we expect him to do now.”
The SOS letter said: “It was a scandalous decision by the Labour Party to allow journalists from this publication into and (to) report on Conference this year, but for a Labour Party leader to choose to appear in it is beyond belief.”
Labour MPs from Liverpool such as Kim Johnson and Bill Esterson have criticised the leader. Birkenhead MP Mick Whitley said he was appalled by Sir Keir’s action and condemned it “absolutely”.
I am appalled at Keir Starmer contributing to the Sun. It spread foul lies about the fans who died at the Hillsborough disaster. To write for it is an insult to the 97 victims, their families and to Labour voters, MPs and Mayors in Merseyside. I condemn it absolutely #JFT97
— Mick Whitley MP (@MickWhitleyMP) October 3, 2021
The anger is further fuelled by the fact that in 2020 during his leadership campaign, Starmer stated that he would never speak to The Sun, leaving many to consider if this was an empty promise.
Starmer’s office have since responded, stating that the promise to not speak to The Sun, was made for the duration of his leadership campaign, which of course ended some time ago.
31 seconds into this video, Keir Starmer, standing in Liverpool, ripped into ‘The Sun’ for the hurt they caused the city of Liverpool.
That was last year to get elected. Today he has written the editorial for that ‘newspaper’. pic.twitter.com/2O3eU9APai
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) October 3, 2021
SOS further explained the pain that has been caused by Starmer’s decision by stating that the Hillsborough tragedy has just claimed its 97th victim.
They said: “This demonstrates poor judgement, limited values and blatant disregard for the collective struggle against this publication”.
SOS ended their letter to Sir Keir by saying: “We condemn your decision, expect an apology to the city and a personal guarantee that you will not repeat such a gross error of judgement.”
Spirit of Shankly began more formal communications with LFC after controversy surrounding the European Super League in April.
— Spirit of Shankly (@spiritofshankly) May 20, 2021
The group have been involved in several social issues. One that brought about significant change was during the 2020/21 football season when the Premier League decided to charge £14.95 to watch single games.
SOS worked with Fans Supporting Foodbanks to organise a boycott of the pay-per-views, and encouraged fans to donate £15 to their local foodbanks instead.
Across the country more than £400K was raised and the Premier League reversed the decision and removed the PPV model.
Donate to support the Foodbank: https://t.co/8qmncj6Zng
— Spirit of Shankly (@spiritofshankly) October 18, 2020
You can read the full letter here: