Nadine Dorries shares 'doctored video from far-right account' attacking Sir Keir Starmer

14 May 2020, 13:43

Nadine Dorries has been accused of spreading fake news
Nadine Dorries has been accused of spreading fake news. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Health minister Nadine Dorries is among a number of Tory MPs who have been criticised for spreading "fake news" about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Dorries, government whip Maria Caulfield and Lucy Allan quote-tweeted a video on social media this morning suggesting Sir Keir had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs when he was director of public prosecutions.

Ms Dorries re-tweeted the clip of an interview with the Labour leader in which 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.

Following the furore, the post was deleted from Ms Dorries's timeline, and Ms Caulfield has deleted her Twitter account altogether.

Ms Allan also took the post down, and later tweeted: "There was a total failure by the authorities to understand #cse #grooming, a dismissive attitude towards victims, and a belief that victims brought it on themselves."

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clearly been "doctored" and that he was actually explaining the flaws in previous guidance to prosecutors which he had withdrawn and replaced.

Maria Caulfield has since deleted her Twitter account
Maria Caulfield has since deleted her Twitter account. Picture: PA

In response to the post by Ms Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Labour's Wes Streeting replied: "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.

"It's either malevolence or stupidity. Probably both."

The former senior prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who was involved in bringing a number of 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 said: "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."