Rupert Murdoch’s newspapers might switch their allegiance to the Labour Party in the next election, according to Michael Wolff, the media mogul’s biographer. Wolff suggests that if it becomes evident that Sir Keir Starmer is on track to become a “certain winner,” Murdoch’s News UK could throw its support behind him.
News UK, under Murdoch’s ownership, controls four influential print titles in the UK: The Sun, The Sun on Sunday, The Times, and The Sunday Times. These newspapers have consistently endorsed the Conservative Party in the last four elections, making any loss of their support a significant setback for Rishi Sunak and the Tories.
However, history shows that Murdoch’s media outlets can change their political leanings. In 1997, The Sun famously supported Sir Tony Blair’s Labour Party, declaring the Conservatives as “tired, divided, and rudderless.”
Wolff, who authored a biography of Rupert Murdoch in 2008 titled “The Man Who Owns the News,” believes that such a switch in political allegiance is not out of the question. When asked if any News UK titles might back Labour in the future, he remarked, “He’s done it before. Could he do it now? For sure. And I think that if he saw a Labour government being to his benefit, he would, of course, support it. If he saw Labour as a certain winner, his support would begin to bend in that direction.”
The role of Elisabeth Murdoch, Rupert’s 55-year-old daughter residing in London, is considered pivotal in shaping his political decisions. Her influence could play a significant role in any shift in editorial stance.
Sir Keir Starmer has been making efforts to mend ties with Murdoch and his newspaper titles, which became strained during Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party. Starmer has contributed articles to both The Times and The Sun, even going against the views of some Left-wing MPs within his party who objected to his collaboration with The Sun.
In July, the Labour leader attended a summer drinks party hosted by Rupert Murdoch in central London, where the two engaged in a one-to-one conversation.
Rupert Murdoch recently made headlines by announcing his step-down from the chairmanship of Fox and News Corp, the parent company of News UK, at the age of 92. In a memo to staff, he revealed his new title as “chairman emeritus” and hinted at his eldest son, Lachlan, taking over. However, Michael Wolff views this move as mere “theatrics” and believes that Rupert Murdoch will continue to exert significant influence over the media empire. According to Wolff, Lachlan’s position is contingent on his father’s favor, which can change swiftly and unpredictably.