UK Politics

Andy Burnham: No 'special favours' for The Sun

Andy Burnham Image copyright PA

Labour leadership candidate Andy Burnham has indicated he would not do an interview with the Sun newspaper if he becomes party leader.

Mr Burnham told the BBC he had not forgiven the paper for its coverage of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

He said he did not do "special favours" for papers "attacking" him or Labour.

The Sun has not come out in support of any of the four candidates but has praised Liz Kendall, describing her as "the only prayer [the party] have".

Asked specifically about the Sun, Mr Burnham told the BBC's Sunday Politics North West : "I give interviews generally and people can report my words. But I don't do special favours for newspapers that attack me and attack my party."

He remains critical of the paper's coverage of the Hillsborough tragedy - its reporting prompted a campaign to boycott The Sun on Merseyside. The newspaper has apologised several times for its stories.

'Vested interests'

Ninety-five Liverpool supporters were killed in a crush of fans at Hillsborough stadium in Sheffield on 15 April 1989, where the club was playing an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

The 96th victim was in a coma for three years and died in 1992.

During his interview with the BBC, Mr Burnham also said that while he admired former Prime Minister Tony Blair, he believed he got too close to the concerns of business and the media.

He said: "I was a member of his government and I in the end, you'll remember, went to Anfield in 2009 and we saw what happened when a Labour city expressed its feelings that a Labour government that hadn't been listening to it.

"And why? Because I saw Tony at times get too close to vested interests in business and the media.

"So close that his government couldn't hear a whole city crying injustice. Now that would never happen under my leadership."

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt, who had been a possible leadership contender at one stage, told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show he would not be taking a similar stand against the Sun.

A lot of Sun readers were Labour voters, he said. "We need to reach out to those votes - we need as many friends as possible."

The other leadership hopefuls are Jeremy Corbyn, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall.

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