Boris Johnson flounders as he fails to defend Tories’ fake factchecker at manifesto launch

Prime minister cannot find an answer when challenged over the ‘fake news’ social media feed used by his party

Andrew Woodcock
Political Editor
Sunday 24 November 2019 16:05 GMT
Tory manifesto: Boris flounders he struggles to answer question about FactCheck Twitter feed

Boris Johnson was left floundering at today’s Conservative manifesto launch as he failed to defend the party over its “fake newsTwitter scandal.

The prime minister was knocked off his stride at the launch event in Telford by a question on the scandal, which he claimed not to have followed.

For a few moments, his normally confident and fluent speaking style dried up as he struggled to find a response.

After an few sentences peppered with ums and ers, he finally recovered his flow by diverting the conversation onto one of his well-worn routines about Jeremy Corbyn’s Brexit stance.

Tories were accused of misleading the public after they temporarily rebranded one of their official party accounts to make it look like a factchecking service during a TV leaders debate between Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn on Tuesday.

The CCHQ Press account was renamed factcheckUK during the debate and the party’s logo switched for a white tick against a purple background as it pumped out Conservative claims with the word “Fact”.

Twitter said the Conservatives had misled the public and it would take “decisive corrective action” if a similar stunt was attempted again. But foreign secretary Dominic Raab defended the move, saying that “no one gives a toss about the social media cut and thrust”.

Following his manifesto speech, Mr Johnson was asked if the move had undermined trust in politics.

Appearing blind-sided by the question, the prime minister stumbled in his words as he replied: “Well, I’m afraid that the Twittersphere is not really my, er, my province, er.

“But what I can say is that, um, I’m informed that, um, that Labour have some sort of operation, which is, er, very similar to this but, um, I haven’t followed this Twitter stuff with perhaps the attention that you would like.

“I will apprise myself of the detail of this.”

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