Health minister Nadine Dorries sparks Labour ‘fake news’ fury for sharing doctored social media video attacking Keir Starmer over grooming gangs
- Shared interview with the new opposition leader that was heavily edited
- It suggested he had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs
- Labour said the video had clearly been ‘doctored’ and the tweet was deleted
- Two other Tory MPs also did the same, Lucy Allan and Maria Caulfield
A senior health minister is at the centre of a ‘fake news’ row after sharing a doctored video attacking Sir Keir Starmer over grooming gangs from a ‘far right’ Twitter account.
Health minister Nadine Dorries shared an interview with the new opposition leader heavily edited to suggest he had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs when he was director of public prosecutions, adding the comment ‘revealing’.
In it he appeared to be listing a series of reasons for not bringing charges – including if the alleged victims had been in trouble with the police.
Labour said the video had clearly been ‘doctored’ and that he was actually explaining the flaws in previous guidance to prosecutors which he had withdrawn and replaced.
Ms Dorries, the Mid Bedfordshire MP, who works for Matt Hancock as Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, later deleted her tweet.
Downing Street said she and two other MPs who shared the tweet had received a dressing down from the Whips Office and told to take more care to check material they share on social media.
Lucy Allan, the Tory MP for Telford, deleted the same video clip, while Lewes MP Maria Caulfield deleted her Twitter account.
Not has yet offered an apology. But Labour’s shadow Treasury minister Wes Streeting tore into them accusing them of ‘either malevolence or stupidity. Probably both’.
Health minister Nadine Dorries shared an interview with the new opposition leader heavily edited to suggest he had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs when he was director of public prosecutions, adding the comment ‘revealing’
Lucy Allan, the Tory MP for Telford, also did the same after sharing the same video clip, while Lewes MP Maria Caulfield deleted her Twitter account
‘What’s revealing is that: 1. You’ve spread fake news and indulged a smear being promoted by the far right. 2. You had time to do this despite being a minister in the Department of Health during a public health crisis,’ he said.
The former senior prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who was involved in bringing a number of high profile abuse cases, said the clip was being used to suggest Sir Keir did not take child sexual abuse seriously, when the opposite was true.
‘As national lead, I can assure you that he and I put right the failings of a generation of those who should have safeguarded children. He inherited failure and left success,’ he tweeted.
A Labour Party source said: ‘This is a doctored video tweeted by a far-right social media account.
‘As a Government minister, we hope Nadine Dorries acknowledges this and takes it down.’
A Downing Street spokesman: ‘These Tweets have rightly been deleted.
‘The MPs involved have been spoken to by the Whips’ Office and reminded of their responsibility to check the validity of information before they post on social media sites.’