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Editor slams Starmer ‘own goal’ after local media denied chance to ask questions

A regional editor has hit out at Labour leader Keir Starmer after local journalists were denied the chance to ask questions on a visit to their patch.

Sir Keir chose the Bristol suburb of Emersons Green to make a major New Year policy speech last week.

Local media including the Bristol Post were tipped off in advance of the visit and told there would be a “media Q&A,” but in the event only national journalists got to ask questions.

In an editorial, Bristol Post editor Pete Gavan hit out at what he called an ‘own goal’ by the Labour leader.


Sir Keir during last week’s Bristol visit


Wrote Pete: “When senior politicians make visits we – the media – are told in advance. When it’s really senior people, like for example the likely next prime minister, Keir Starmer, there’s always an element of cloak and dagger.

“We might be told he’s coming to the ‘West of England’, be there at 8.30am for a 10am start, that sort of thing. But the implication is clear – Starmer is coming to the city and will be taking questions.

“The information we were given even specifically mentioned a ‘media Q&A’. And previous visits by politicians of all stripes have often included specific time to local media such as BristolLive.

“So we prepared for the visit – thought about what matters most to the people of Bristol, what would we ask, and our reporter Lewis Clarke dutifully went along.

“But it quickly became clear, as the speech drew to a close and the usual national broadcaster suspects got their questions, that there would be nothing for us – the people that represent the region Starmer was standing in.

“Our exasperated reporter did get the chance to take Starmer’s staff to task over not getting any time or a question with the Labour leader but to no avail.

“We had planned to ask about major issues impacting Bristol – what were Labour’s plans to tackle the failing bus services in the city? What would Labour do to ease the housing crisis in the city? Would a Labour government back an underground system in the city?

“It feels like a real own goal and a missed opportunity to address the hundreds of thousands of people that read our articles every day on Bristol Live.”

The Labour Party has been approached for comment.