I was appalled to see that Keir Starmer, the Labour Leader had written to the Sun Newspaper. I played hell when one of our former Leaders did likewise but decided that this was a Labour matter and should be left to them.
However, since then a number of people have asked me to make my Part’s viewpoint crystal clear on this subject. It is clear that Starmer was absolutely wrong to write in the Sun. This isn’t a dead and historic issue to many in Liverpool. It’s a day-to-day reality of loved ones lost and lives shattered or changed.
Below you can see the letter that I have written to Keir Starmer. I don’t think that I need to add to it:
8th October 2021
Rt Hon Sir Keir Starmer QC, MP,
House of Commons,
London SW1A 0AA
Dear Sir Keir,
Labour and the Sun Newspaper
You might think that this is none of my business, but I am joining in the chorus of discontent from members of your own Party at all levels over your decision to write in the Sun.
You might think that Hillsborough is history but for many people in Liverpool it is a reality which they carry as a burden every day of their lives. 96 people were amongst the thousands of law abiding Scousers who went to Sheffield that day. They did what they were asked, they behaved properly and went where they were told. Those 96 never came back. The number of people who died is much greater. One passed away prematurely this year because of injuries suffered all those years ago. Others have committed suicide or in other ways have gone to an early grave.
What made the suffering worse was that for almost two decades the families of the dead and the wider community of Liverpool and our City Region suffered the national acclamation that the dead brought about their own injuries. They were drunk, unruly, showed a lack of concern and compassion as the injuries mounted up. In other words, “it was all their own fault”.
It was a number of national newspapers who led to this false representation of the Liverpool fans but above all it was the graphical pictures and words of the Sun Newspaper that created the false view of the fans and people of the City of Liverpool
It was only the determination of the families, the Council and a campaign headed by the former Bishop of Liverpool, James Jones, which finally brought the inquests which lead to the healing process moving forward.
So, you see Sir Keir that what might appear to be an ancient matter to you is still a burning injustice for many of us here. The Sun has never properly apologised for the false picture it painted. That picture has caused anguish and pain to many people who were the friends and relatives of those that died. By appearing in the Sun as a contributor you enhance the reputation of a ‘newspaper’ that truly belongs in the gutter.
My conscience has led me never to talk to the Sun in all the years that I have been a Councillor in Liverpool. I hope that this letter and all the representations made from your own Party members will cause you to think twice before you ever again even think of trying to peddle your wares through this obnoxious rag.
Cllr Richard Kemp CBE,
Leader, Liverpool Liberal Democrats