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Labour should print free tabloid-style newspaper for commuters, says Richard Burgon

2 min read

Labour should print its own “tabloid-style” free newspaper to hand out to commuters, according to Richard Burgon.

The deputy leadership hopeful said it would be a way to get around having to use traditional media to push the movement's message out.

He said the Labour Party needs to learn the “political, organisational and technological lessons” from their 2019 election defeat, and improve their media strategy as they seek to win back voters.

Speaking to Novara Media, Mr Burgon said: “Something I’d like to see, it might seem like an old-fashioned idea, but obviously in London there is the Evening Standard that everyone reads on the Tube and on the bus.

“And in other parts of the country there is the Metro, every time you go to work in Leeds or wherever you’ve got everyone reading the Metro because it’s there.

“It would be fantastic if the labour movement could invest in its own free newspaper given out on public transport, because that is when people will read it.”

He added: “It can be written in a tabloid style.

“You know, I’m no expert at that, but I think we need to consider every option in terms of getting our message out there.”

According to the most recent Audit Bureau of Circulation figures, the Metro prints 1.4million copies every weekday, and the Evening Standard hands out more than 800,000 papers around the capital.

But Ian Murray, one of Mr Burgon's rivals in the deputy leadership race, hit out at the idea.

He said: "We are a party aspiring to be in government, not a protest movement handing out newspapers outside train stations.

"Wasting members’ money on more vanity projects like Labour Live will not transform our movement for power.

"Blaming the media for our defeat is also a pathetic excuse for our failings – we lost because voters didn’t trust our leadership, we faced both ways on the constitution, and our policies weren’t believable. Every Labour leader, including Tony Blair, has faced a tough time from the Press.

"But we won’t get our message out by booing journalists, denigrating the work they do, or circumventing the mainstream media.

"We will get our message out by having a credible offer of change that convinces the British public to vote for Labour."

The Shadow Justice Secretary’s previous policy idea, allowing Labour members to veto any military action being supported by the party's leadership, also drew criticism from his rivals.

He said his "peace pledge" would prevent the party ever signing up to ill-fated military campaigns like the Iraq War again.

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