Tories set up fake Labour manifesto website as election disinformation spree continues

Conservatives pay Google to promote website in search results

Jon Stone
Thursday 21 November 2019 13:36 GMT
Jeremy Corbyn arrives for Labour manifesto launch

The Conservatives have set up a website that purports to contain Labour’s manifesto, in a bid to trick voters looking for the document.

The governing party paid Google to promote the website towards the top of its results for people searching for the opposition plan.

It is the latest underhand tactic to have been employed by the Tories, who were earlier this week accused of running an authoritarian-style disinformation campaign to confuse voters about opposition plans.

The party was branded “dystopian” by senior EU politicians after it set up a fake fact-checking service that was actually broadcasting messages from the Tory press office to unsuspecting voters.

Other than having the domain name “”, the new website features a picture of Jeremy Corbyn at the top and the headline “Labour’s 2019 manifesto”.

Once users are on the page, it notes in smaller writing further down that it is “a website by the Conservative party”. The page then launches into Tory talking points and PR messages instead of the party’s actual manifesto, which was released on Thursday.

Labour’s manifesto includes a windfall tax on oil companies to fund an overhaul of the economy, a pledge to build 100,000 council homes a year, plans for a "final say" referendum on Brexit, and extra cash for the NHS.

The opposition says it will not raise income tax for taxpayers earning under £85,000 a year, representing 90 per cent of taxpayers – though businesses and the wealthy will be asked to pay more through a rise in corporation tax and a new tax on second homes.

The real Labour manifesto can be found here.

The Tories have been strongly criticised throughout the campaign for pumping out fake news and disinformation. Last month the party doctored a video of the shadow Brexit secretary, Keir Starmer, to misrepresent the party’s policy: a second referendum with a choice between Remain and a soft Brexit.

During the first general-election debate on Tuesday night, the Tory press office's Twitter account was rebranded “factcheckUK” and removed any obvious mention of the party. It then tweeted endorsements of Boris Johnson.

The fake manifesto website was red and featured a picture of Jeremy Corbyn (Conservatives)

Bona fide fact-checking organisations condemned the move as “inappropriate”, while Guy Verhofstadt, the European parliament’s Brexit coordinator, said the move was “dystopian” and beyond what even the far-right regimes of eastern Europe might try.

A Conservative Party spokesman said the party "makes no apologies for highlighting what Jeremy Corbyn has made clear himself time and time again", adding that he "doesn’t have a plan for Brexit and that without that, he has no credibility on anything else".

Join our commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies


Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in