Times credits everyone for PM’s refugee U-turn – except Yvette Cooper!

Archbishop of Canterbury roped in to deny Labour a moral victory


As the right-wing papers’ massive reverse-ferret on refugees continues, the Times has shown that it’s not above spinning the issue along party lines.

‘Cameron opens door to thousands more refugees’ is a plain enough front page headline to please or dismay readers according to their opinions.

But the paper has bizarrely decided to credit everyone for the prime minister’s U-turn except the person who deserves it most – Labour leadership candidate Yvette Cooper.  

It was she who made a well-covered speech on Tuesday demanding action from the PM and calling failure to help refugees  ‘immoral and cowardly’. Cooper said Britain could take 10,000 refugees if every community welcomed 10 families.

Yet the story says, in line 2:

“Downing Street spent yesterday scrambling to match public outrage and calls, led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, for Britain to do more to alleviate the human cost of Europe’s gravest postwar migration crisis.”

Since the Archbishop’s remarks were made as late as yesterday, it seems far fetched to say he has ‘led’ the calls for action.

The Times goes on to name-check Tory London mayor Boris Johnson, Tory Scottish leader Ruth Davidson, Tory international development secretary Justine Greening, and Tory education secretary Nicky Morgan.

But no Cooper. 

In fact, no Labour politicians are mentioned at all, despite the refugee issue dominating last night’s leadership debate, televised by Sky News, (which shares a proprietor with the Times in Rupert Murdoch). All four candidates – Jeremy Corbyn, Liz Kendall, Yvetter Cooper and Andy Burnham – called for the UK to take in more refugees.

Cooper and Burnham are mentioned on page 10, (in a story that begins ‘The Archbishop of Canterbury led calls for the prime minister to…’), but in the following manner:

“The debate led to a squabble between Andy Burnham and Yvette Cooper, two of the candidates vying to lead Labour.

Asked about Ms Cooper’s call on Tuesday for 10,000 refugees to be allowed into the UK, Mr Burnham told Sky News that he ‘had called the day before for Britain to take its fair share’.”

That’s it for Labour in the story, and it’s half way down the page.

The Times also underplays the speed of the prime minister’s U-turn – saying one thing in the morning and something else in the evening.

Instead of responding to public pressure, led principally by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, the Times paints Cameron as responding to pressure within his own party, then ropes in the latecomer Archbishop for good measure (and moral cover).

This is patently ridiculous.

Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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Read more: 

Since when did the Tory press care about the lives of refugees?

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