A regional daily has “reluctantly” given its backing to the Labour party today, saying it would give the fairest deal for the region.
The title is one of the few regional newspapers to come out in support of a particular party because most prefer to be politically neutral and have simply been encouraging their readers to use their vote.
Others to declare support include the the Yorkshire Post which backed the continuation of the Conservative and Lib coalition and Newsquest’s pro-independence Scottish daily The National, which unsurprisingly is backing the SNP today.
Explaining why the paper was backing Labour, Northern Echo editor Peter Barron said the choice was “hardly compelling” and claimed the party was “tortured by its own internal uncertainty over whether it picked the wrong leader.”
Said Peter: “We have stated repeatedly that we have been unconvinced by Ed Miliband and Labour would surely now be in a much stronger position if the union block vote hadn’t tipped the balance away from his brother David.
“We retain doubts about Ed looking prime ministerial but his public image is better at the end of the campaign than it was at the outset. He is beginning to fit more comfortably into the leader’s suit – but has he left it too late?
“The shop window really does lack appeal because, on the one hand, we worry what sweeteners the SNP will wring out of Labour to the detriment of our region, but, on the other hand, we are left with the feeling that the North-East will get the fairest deal under Labour, with its more measured approach to austerity.”
Added Peter: “So, that is our view. But what is most important – despite the doubts hanging over all the parties – is that you weigh up the options and use your precious vote in favour of one of the candidates standing in your constituency.
“The result may be hard to predict but, make no mistake, it will inevitably have a huge bearing on some of the biggest issues facing our country: membership of the EU, the future of the United Kingdom, the shape of the National Health Service, the substance of the public sector, and the fairness of the democratic process itself.
“As unappealing as the goods on offer may be, please don’t just walk past the shop.”
Earlier South Wales Argus editor Kevin Ward made clear his own view that regional newspapers should not endorse particular political parties, although he did not mention any indidvidual title by name.
Kevin said in a Tweet: “Disagree entirely with regional papers backing particular parties today. That’s not our job.”
He later added: “Use your vote today but cast it as you see fit. Don’t listen to media or celebs who think you’re too thick to make your own choice.”
Meanwhile the Lancaster Guardian has stressed that it does not support any party, after it was criticised as one of a number of regional titles which published a Conservative wraparound last week.
She wrote: “As we go to the polls today, let me make it quite clear this newspaper does not support any political party.
“We have always accepted advertising from legitimate parties – although we have never seen a promotional push on quite this scale before.”