Tory minister disowns his own party’s misleading attack on Sadiq Khan

Kevin Hollinrake says he has ‘no idea’ why Tories published shortened video of London mayor mistakenly calling Labour antisemitic

Andy Gregory
Friday 16 February 2024 10:15 GMT
The misleading footage was published on the Conservatives’ official Twitter account
The misleading footage was published on the Conservatives’ official Twitter account (Twitter/X)

A Tory minister has disowned a misleading video clip shared by his own party which showed Sadiq Khan mistakenly calling Labour a party of antisemitism.

Business minister Kevin Hollinrake said he had “no idea” why his party would publish the shortened video clip, which failed to show the mayor of London go on to correct his mistake, and was captioned: “Labour saying the quiet part out loud.”

Asked whether the clip – published on the official Tory X/Twitter account – signals “how low the Conservatives are going to go“ in the upcoming general election, he told BBC Newsnight: “I think we should give an accurate portrayal of what somebody’s said. Clearly he’s made a mistake.

“I wouldn’t support something which is clearly an honest mistake from Sadiq Khan.”

Pressed on why his party had used the video, he said: “I’ve no idea. That’s a question to ask CCHQ, and I’m sure questions will be asked.”

But Tory party chair Richard Holden defended the video, telling Times Radio the following morning: “What it highlights is an issue of antisemitism at the heart of the Labour Party. And it’s not been edited. It was clipped.”

“I think we both know the difference between editing something to misconstrue or clipping something. And I think the issue we’re trying to highlight, and I think which is really important, is that the Labour Party hasn’t changed, whether it comes to antisemitism within it under Keir Starmer.”

The Labour Party suspended two prospective MPs this week after news outlets published a recording of comments made at a meeting in Rochdale.

Sir Keir Starmer faced questions after initially declining to suspend ex-Tony Blair aide Azhar Ali as the party’s candidate for the upcoming Rochdale by-election, after he suggested Israel allowed the 7 October massacre by Hamas as a pretext to invade Gaza.

Sir Keir was forced to U-turn the following night after further comments of Mr Ali’s complaining about the influence of “certain Jewish quarters” in the media were published by the Daily Mail. Mr Ali will now sit as an independent if he wins the by-election.

A further recording from the same meeting, published by Guido Fawkes, then saw Hyndburn candidate Graham Jones swiftly suspended, after he was heard saying “f***ing Israel” and mistakenly saying Britons who fight for the Israel Defence Forces are breaking British law and should be “locked up”.

In the fuller clip of Mr Khan’s Sky News interview, the mayor of London said: “It certainly shouldn’t be acceptable in a party like mine that is proud to be both anti-racist, but also antisemitic – I beg your pardon, tackling antisemitism.”

It came as the Conservatives suffered two devastating by-election defeats, in Kingswood and Wellingborough, where the huge 28.5 per cent swing to Sir Keir‘s party marked the second largest at a by-election since the Second World War.

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