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'Underdog' Labour bites back

By Channel 4 News

Updated on 30 September 2009

The Sun's decision to switch political allegiance prompts angry exchanges between Lord Mandelson and the news group. Cathy Newman asks whether Labour's fightback has failed.

"We may be the underdog, but we won't be bullied. This underdog is biting back," says Labour's deputy leader Harriet Harman today after Rupert Murdoch's Sun declared its backing for the Conservatives at the next election.

The Sun, which backed Tony Blair at the last three general elections and is Britain's best selling newspaper, made its announcement just hours after the prime minister's fightback speech at the Labour conference.

The decision caused angry exchanges between Lord Mandelson and News International chief executive Rebekah Brooks.

Hours after the prime minister gave a speech to the Labour party conference in Brighton, the Sun printed a front page with the headline "Labour's lost it", and the newspaper confirmed it is no longer supporting the party.

In 1992 the Sun claimed it had helped the Conservatives beat Labour in the general election, and the newspaper backed Labour when it won a landslide victory in 1997.

However, there is some debate over the Sun's influence because there are suggestions the newspaper chooses to support the party it believes will win power.

Mr Brown said: "It's the British people that decide the election. It's the British people's views that I am interested in.

"I think Sun readers actually, when they look at what I say, they will agree with what I said.

"Obviously, you want newspapers to be for you. We would have liked everybody to be on our side, but the people decide.

"I've got an old-fashioned opinion that you look to newspapers for news not opinions."

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