Sir Keir Starmer faces Labour backlash on Merseyside for writing Sun article

Sir Keir Starmer Credit: PA

Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer is facing a backlash on Merseyside from members of his own party after writing an article for The Sun.

The newspaper has been boycotted by many in the area for its coverage of the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

Today families of those who died told us they felt let down by the Labour Leader.

MPs today said Sir Keir had "betrayed the people of Liverpool" and accused him of being "not fit" to be in his position.

Paula Barker, who represents Liverpool Wavertree, says her leader needs to come to the city to apologise.

Fans also condemned the decision.

Spirit of Shankly Supporters' Union said is was "a kick in the teeth for the collective struggle against this publication with its disregard towards families and survivors of Hillsborough, football fans and the City of Liverpool."

Ian Byrne MP, a Liverpool supporter who attended the FA Cup semi-final with Nottingham Forest, said he stands fully behind his views "that if any leader of any of the components of our great Labour and Trade Union movement write in the rag, they are not fit to be in that position."

Kim Johnson, the Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, has written to Sir Keir to ask him to come to Liverpool to meet families, survivors and campaigners.

Tributes at Anfield to the Liverpool fans who died in the Hillsborough disaster

97 men, women and children died as a result of a crush on the terraces at Sheffield Wednesday's ground on 15 April 1989.

Four days after the disaster, under the headline The Truth, the tabloid carried a series of front-page allegations including that Liverpool fans had picked the pockets of the dead.

The claim was disproved during evidence to fresh inquests into the deaths, which also found that supporters were not responsible for the tragedy.

The Sun's misleading headline on 19 April 1989

The paper made a front-page apology in 2012 in the wake of the report of the Hillsborough Independent Panel and apologised again at the conclusion of the inquests in 2016, although it did not include the verdict on its front page.

Liverpool fans have refused to accept the apologies made by the paper and former editor Kelvin McKenzie.

Sir Keir promised not to give interviews to the tabloid during his leadership campaign in January 2020.

Labour's Joanne Anderson, the city Mayor for Liverpool, said she is "deeply offended" by Sir Keir's decision to now write an opinion piece for the Sun and that the party should never work with the paper.

Steve Rotheram, metro Mayor of Liverpool City Region, added: "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."

The article, published ahead of the Conservative party conference in Manchester, accuses the Prime Minister of "incompetence" and talks about working people struggling "to get to work, feed their families and pay the bills."

ITV Granada has approached the Labour party for comment.