Former Conservative chancellor George Osborne chose today to give his party a front-page endorsement as editor of the Evening Standard.
The comment piece is flagged up on the front page alongside a news story headlined: “Corbyn Chaos.” This details how Diane Abott has been replaced as shadow home secretary in a “day of mayhem” for Labour.
The story also reports that Labour’s spending plans “do not add up” and warns that “sterling will fall” unless Theresa May wins the general election comfortably.
Inside the Standard has two pages of coverage in which business leaders warn against the impact of a Labour victory.
Whilst accepting that “this campaign has exposed the shortcomings of the Tory leadership”, the Standard leader adds: “they clearly offer Britain the better party, better policies and better personnel than the alternative”.
Urging Labour voters to reject Jeremy Corbyn, it says: “It is only if Jeremy Corbyn and his crew are decisively rejected at this election that Labour has a chance of changing its leader, rebuilding itself as a credible party of the centre-Left, forming an effective opposition in the coming parliament and forming a future government. Our message to moderate Labour sympathisers is this: you cannot leave it to other voters to do the tough work; you need to reject Corbyn yourself. ”
The leader column is likely to be at odds with many of the Standard’s London readers.
The latest YouGov figures quoted by the paper put Labour support in London on 50 per cent versus the Tories on 33 per cent.
Press Gazette analysis of Standard coverage since George Osborne became became editor on 2 May suggests that overall it has been more critical of the Conservatives. The paper published eight front-page stories which cast the Conservatives in a negative light in Osborne’s first month as editor versus two which were negative for Labour.
With a free daily distribution of 900,000 the Standard is the fourth most popular daily newspaper in the UK. According to the National Readership Survey it reaches 5m readers a month, many of whom commute in to London from the Home Counties.