'It is beneath us': Tories at war over social media attack on Labour using post of BBC presenter swearing

8 December 2023, 12:39

Maryam Moshiri made the gesture ahead of a news programme yesterday.
Maryam Moshiri made the gesture ahead of a news programme yesterday. Picture: BBC

By Emma Soteriou

Tory MPs have disagreed over a social media attack on Labour from the Conservative Twitter account.

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A clip of BBC presenter Maryam Moshiri went viral after she was caught on camera giving a middle finger in a ‘private joke’.

She made the gesture as she came on screen on Thursday - quickly realising her mistake before she started to read news headlines.

The Conservative Twitter account was quick to jump on the viral clip, using a screengrab to attack Labour over its migration policy.

It captioned the image: "Labour when you ask for their plans to tackle illegal migration."

The post has seen a mixed response from Tory MPs, with some saying they "approve this message" while others insisted it be deleted.

Read more: 'I wasn’t ‘flipping the bird’ at viewers': BBC presenter apologises after giving middle finger live on air in ‘private joke’

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Jonathan Gullis, MP for Stoke-on-Trenth North, retweeted the image saying: “I approve this message.”

Tobias Ellwood, MP for Bournemouth East, said: “Please delete this post.”

Chairwoman of the foreign affairs committee, Alicia Kearns, tweeted: "Amazed this has not - despite requests - been taken down, it is beneath us."

Labour MP Sarah Owen also responded to the post, saying: "I see Lee Anderson has control of the Tory Twitter account.

"They’ve clearly given up. A general election can’t come soon enough. #GTTO"

Following the original clip, Ms Moshiri issued a full and candid apology on Twitter, saying she was "sorry if I offended or upset anyone".

“Hey everyone, yesterday just before the top of the hour I was joking around a bit with the team in the gallery," she said. 

"I was pretending to count down as the director was counting me down from 10-0... including the fingers to show the number.

"So from 10 fingers held up to one. When we got to 1 I turned finger around as a joke and did not realise that this would be caught on camera. 

"It was a private joke with the team and I'm so sorry it went out on air! It was not my intention for this to happen and I'm sorry if I offended or upset anyone. 

"I wasn't 'flipping the bird' at viewers or even a person really. It was a silly joke that was meant for a small number of my mates."