Fact-checking organisation Full Fact has branded the Tories ‘irresponsible’ for a misleading edit of an interview with Sir Keir Starmer that was widely shared on social media.
The video of the shadow Brexit secretary on Good Morning Britain (GMB) was shared to the Conservatives’ 431,000 Twitter followers and was cut to falsely give the impression that he was unable to answer a challenging question on Labour’s Brexit position.
Yet the Tories doubled down twice even after GMB host Piers Morgan called them out for doctoring the clip.
The tweeted video showed Starmer blinking in uncertainty for several seconds after Morgan asked: “Why would the EU give you a good deal if they know you are going to actively campaign against it?”
However, the footage of Starmer’s apparent hesitation was snipped from an earlier part of the interview in which he was simply listening to the hosts’ questions.
You doctored the end of the clip you originally put out, to make it look like @Keir_Starmer had no answer to my question. In fact he answered immediately. You could have had plenty of fun with that interview anyway - why fake it? https://t.co/nskZ0hgnyc— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 5, 2019
The video was overlaid with jaunty music and a grainy filter to give a comical effect.
In the actual interview, which overall lasted 15 minutes, covered numerous topics and had a largely friendly tone, Starmer responded immediately to the question.
His full answer was: “Well Piers, I have been talking to the EU, to political leaders across the EU 27 countries, for three years, and I know very well what the parameters are of any deal that they would do with a Labour government.
“We actually explored some of it in the cross-party talks that we were involved with with the government six months or so ago. So I know that the customs union, and single market alignment, and protection of workers’ rights, environmental rights and consumer rights is something that can be negotiated.”
Labour has pledged that if it wins the upcoming election it will renegotiate a Brexit deal with the EU and then put it to a referendum. The equivocal policy has given rise to robust questioning from all sides of the Brexit debate, including the GMB interview.
Full Fact said: “By editing the clip in this way, the Conservatives have created a false narrative. It is irresponsible for a political party to mislead the public like this.”
Even Piers Morgan climbed into the debate, tweeting: “You doctored the end of the clip you originally put out, to make it look like Keir Starmer had no answer to my question. In fact he answered immediately. You could have had plenty of fun with that interview anyway – why fake it?”
In response, the Conservatives tweeted a new version, saying: “Fair point Piers Morgan. Is this version better?”
This version removed the silent blinking, but still cut Starmer off after the words “Well Piers I-“.
In an even more desperate response to the growing public concern, the party press office acknowledged on Twitter that there have been “some enquiries about the veracity” of the video.
Without acknowledging the misleading edit that the party had made, the press office then shared GMB’s own tweeted video of the encounter, commenting: “Believe it or not, this car crash interview did really take place.”
But, as Full Fact noted, the GMB clip also happens to cut off Starmer’s answer.
The fact checkers also noted that the Tories have already fallen foul by running a Facebook advert with a misleading headline.