The Daily Mail’s sister newspaper has blamed the EU for the fact Boris Johnson has contracted the coronavirus, sparking ridicule on social media for its outlandish claims.
The Mail on Sunday devoted two pages to questioning whether it was EU negotiator Michel Barnier who brought the virus to Downing Street, in a report that begins ‘could this be the ultimate revenge for Brexit?’.
Barnier had not visited Johnson or Downing Street during the outbreak, so instead the newspaper blames a Brexit meeting between Barnier and David Frost – the UK government’s chief negotiator – earlier in the month for passing it between officials.
While the focus of the two-page article remains on blaming the EU, the final paragraphs appear more logical.
The newspaper acknowledges that others that could be responsible include Prince Charles and junior health minister Nadine Dorries, both having contracted the COVID-19 and have been in contact with the prime minister.
The attempts to blame Barnier come just weeks after pro-Brexit newspapers were celebrating the fact he and his team would have to head to London to discuss Brexit.
A majority of social media users were thoroughly unimpressed by the report in their responses, with hundreds responding to the Mail on Sunday’s initial tweet.
Will Jennings wrote: ‘This is irresponsible, pathetic, and thoroughly depressing.’
‘Did this newspaper infect the UK?’ asked Frédéric Moreau.
‘Ah yes. ’twas the EU, with their funny accent, in the library, with the candle stick,’ responded Fergal Lenehan.
‘British nationalists blaming the EU for infecting the British prime minister,’ said Eoin Kelleher. ‘Can we all put the UK in quarantine, medically and politically?’
‘In a way, it is kind of comforting that even in times like this, some British tabloids can still be relied upon to spout off headlines like this one,’ tweeted Helene von Bismarck.
‘Whatever happens, it’s always the EU’s fault’ said Peter R Neumann.
‘Remind me, who was it who was boasting two weeks ago about shaking hands with coronavirus patients?’ asked Twitter user @Berlaymonster.
‘IS TONTY BLAIR BEHIND THIS?’ joked Reece Hayes, re-igniting an old political meme.
‘Is there an equivalent to Betteridge’s Law for ‘headlines that end in a question and can be answered by OH F**K OFF’?’ queried Stuart Houghton.
‘That sound you hear, it’s the very bottom of the barrel’, noted Samantha Duff.
Earlier in the month Boris Johnson was criticised for claiming he was ‘shaking hands with everybody’ at a hospital where cases of coronavirus were reported, while over the weekend scientists said the prime minister had flouted the government’s own coronavirus guidance before getting ill.
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