London Evening Standard backs the Tories

Newspaper says Labour has shown ‘anti-London rhetoric’ and that George Osborne and Boris Johnson are good for the capital

The Evening Standard has urged Londoners to vote Conservative in Thursday’s general election.

The newspaper is following in the footsteps of its stablemate the Independent, which on Tuesday morning stunned many by announcing its support of a continuation of the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition.

In backing the Tories, the Standard said in an editorial on Tuesday: “It is our conviction that what benefits the capital benefits the rest of the country. This is a diverse city with many shades of political opinion. We respect that multiplicity of views. This paper’s view, however, is that a Conservative government under David Cameron would be in the best interests of the capital.”

Russian billionaire Evgeny Lebedev owns the Independent and a 75% stake in the Evening Standard; DMGT, the owner of the pro-Tory Daily Mail, owns the remainder.

While the Independent’s move came as a surprise to many readers and staff alike and it has not run particularly pro-Tory front pages, the Evening Standard has established a pro-Conservative stance.

The Evening Standard said there are “aspects” of the Labour party’s programme “which we applaud”, but that it has shown “anti-London rhetoric” and fails to support projects such as Crossrail 2.

“From the point of view of the capital, a party which is oriented so much to the north of England, and which could be obliged to rely on SNP support is not going to represent our needs adequately – its centre of gravity lies elsewhere,” the paper said. “The Tories as represented by George Osborne and Boris Johnson have, by contrast, shown themselves to be good for London. We would therefore recommend Londoners should vote Conservative – though in some seats there may be good tactical reasons to vote Liberal Democrat.”

Lisa Markwell, editor of stablemate Independent on Sunday, tweeted that she “will not be endorsing” the Independent’s move to back the Tories.

Last week, the Guardian came out in support of Labour, as has the Daily Mirror but, with the Independent’s move, all other national titles are expected to back the Tories even if the Express has flirted hard with Ukip.

The Sun has already come out in favour of the Conservatives, while stablemate the Scottish Sun is endorsing the Scottish National party.

The Financial Times and the Economist have declared for the continuation of a Conservative-led coalition.

The Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph have not expressly declared their allegiance in an editorial, but both are firmly committed to a Tory victory. The Times, which backed the Conservatives in the 2010 election, has also been mostly pro-Tory in its coverage.

Richard Desmond, owner of the Daily Express, Sunday Express, Daily Star and Daily Star Sunday, has donated more than £1m to Ukip.

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