ED MILIBAND has apologised after Labour figures in Liverpool expressed anger at his decision to pose with a copy of The Sun.
The party leader was photographed with a special edition being distributed free to mark the start of the England football team’s World Cup campaign.
“Ed Miliband was promoting England’s bid to win the World Cup and is proud to do so,” a spokesman said.
“But he understands the anger that is felt towards The Sun over Hillsborough by many people and he is sorry to those who feel offended.”
The Sun has long been scorned in Liverpool for its coverage of the tragedy, after which it criticised the behaviour of Liverpool fans, suggesting they had robbed and urinated on victims and attacked police officers attending to the injured.
In 2012, it published a “profound” apology for what it said was an “inaccurate and offensive” report.
Yesterday’s statement came after Liverpool Walton MP, Steve Rotheram and city mayor, Joe Anderson, accused Mr Miliband of failing to take account of continuing fury over the tabloid’s coverage of the 1989 disaster, which claimed 96 lives.
Mr Anderson said: “Such clear support for that publication at any time would be wrong but at such a sensitive time is deeply shocking.
“My city was offended and insulted by the lies and smears peddled by The Sun and their hindrance to our fight for justice is something that will never be forgotten.
“For the leader of the Labour Party to make such an offensive gesture insults not only me but every person in the city. This is just another example of how out of touch the politicians in their ivory towers are from the lives of ordinary people.”
It begs the question – were the comments he made after the Hillsborough report sincere or sound bites?”Mr Rotheram, who raised concerns with Mr Miliband face-to-face after the picture emerged on Twitter, said: “He never meant any offence, but in my opinion it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.”
All the main party leaders have been pictured with the special edition of The Sun.
Liberal democrat peer Lord Storey, a former mayor and leader of Liverpool City Council, urged Nick Clegg to apologise .
“I don’t think people outside Merseyside realise the great upset and harm The Sun caused to the people of this city,” he told the BBC’s Daily Politics.
“It is an insult to what has happened. Both Miliband and Nick Clegg should clearly apologise for the hurt that they have caused.”