Britain’s right-wing press have been accused of attempting to “smear” Jeremy Corbyn on the eve of the General Election, with several papers linking the Labour leader to extremists just days after jihadis killed seven people in London.
Less than 24 hours before the polls open, the Daily Mail called Corbyn, Diane Abbot and shadow chancellor John McDonnell “unashamed apologists for terror”.
The tabloid accused the “troika” of devoting their lives to “befriending the enemies of Britain while undermining the very institutions which keep us safe in our beds.”
The Sun took a similar line, claiming that in 2002 Corbyn delivered an “incendiary” speech in Trafalgar Square attended by followers of hate preachers Anjem Choudary and Omar Bakri Mohammad - some of whom were “dressed as suicide bombers”.
Although less direct than the other two papers, The Telegraph used part of its front page to claim that “subversive” Corbyn was monitored by special branch officers for two decades amid fears he was trying to undermine democracy.
“It is possible that officers may have been investigating his links to extremist groups,” the paper speculated.
The Daily Express also urged its readers to vote Conservative, stating that Corbyn, a man “driven by Marxist ideology and contempt for our national interests”, is the “most extreme figure ever to have become a contender for Downing Street”.
The front pages sparked widespread outrage among Labour voters, with the hashtag #LastMinuteCorbynSmears trending on Twitter.
“Be prepared to rebut all those
#LastMinuteCorbynSmears from the Tories & their media friends - negative campaigning is all they’ve got left,” one social media user posted this morning.
Others expressed similar sentiments.
While some used the chance to offer comedic takes on what else the Labour leader might be guilty of:
Who are the papers backing?
This morning, The Sun and the Daily Express both called on their readers to vote for the Conservative Party when the polls open on Thursday.
The London Evening Standard - now edited by former Tory chancellor George Osborne - has also stated that the country needs a “strong Conservative team as the next government”.
Although they have yet to publish a final pre-election endorsement, it is expected that the Daily Mail, Telegraph and The Times will also back May, with all three newspapers offering her support during the election campaign.
Surprisingly, the Mail has also encouraged its readers to tactically vote for the Lib Dems and the Green Party over Conservative candidates in certain seats in an attempt to “keep Labour out”.
The Guardian has come out in strong support of Labour, with the New Statesman also endorsing the party.
Although the Mirror has yet to publish an official pre-election endorsement, the UK’s only left-leaning tabloid is expected to back Corbyn.
Admitting that choosing a party for this election is a “dismal choice”, the Economist has come out in support of the Liberal Democrats over May’s threat of a hard Brexit.