Letter to Wes Streeting MP

Dear Wes Streeting

We begin by saying it is great news to hear you are now cancer free, and we send you our best wishes for future health.

We are however disappointed to read that you have written an exclusive article for The Sun.

We find it astonishing that you, as a Labour MP, should choose this particular publication for an exclusive interview.

You will be fully aware, that this ‘newspaper’ has been boycotted/banned here in Liverpool and many other parts of the country for the role it played in peddling lies about Liverpool football fans and what happened at Hillsborough.

Days after the tragedy, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died at an FA Cup semi-final tie against Nottingham Forest, The Sun’s front-page story proclaimed to tell “the truth” based on anonymous police claims.

Fans were subsequently smeared with accusations that some had “picked pockets of victims”, “urinated on cops” and beat up a policeman giving the “kiss of life”. The Sun later issued an apology, but anger at the paper and the consequences felt by Liverpool and its people for decades continues to run deep.

At the 2016 Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, a point of order called for one of the exhibitors to “show some respect” to the city’s people. Delegates were told it was not acceptable for copies of The Sun at a Labour Party conference, especially in a city whose people and football club fans were vilified and lied about by that paper.

Wendy Nichols, a member of Labour’s ruling National Executive Committee, said everybody in the conference hall was “united” behind these comments. She added that she would advise the Conference Arrangements Committee to ensure The Sun is “no longer in this building and should never come here again”.

Again in 2018, journalists from the publication were banned from many Conference events in a show of solidarity with the families of the victims of the Hillsborough disaster, and a show of support for the boycott of the newspaper observed by community groups and businesses across Liverpool.

The fact you have chosen to write for this publication, especially in the wake of the news that Hillsborough had claimed it’s 97th victim, demonstrates poor judgement and blatant disregard for the collective struggle against this publication, not just in its antipathy towards football fans and the City of Liverpool, but also in its disregard of the working class movement the Labour Party represents.

We request you reconsider which publications you write for in the future and give a personal guarantee that you will not repeat such a gross error of judgement.

Yours sincerely

Joe Blott