The Labour party are not in high spirits today after their election campaign was derailed by the ex-Labour MP, Ian Austin, who this morning urged ‘decent, patriotic’ Labour voters to back Boris Johnson at the election because of Labour’s continued problems with anti-Semitism.
Deeply unhappy with the news was Labour’s Shadow Home Secretary, Diane Abbott, who moaned on Twitter about the ‘wall-to-wall coverage’ Austin’s statement was receiving, which she compared to the silence that had greeted Ken Clarke’s admission that he would not vote Conservative:
Ian Austin, 1 year as a junior minister at DCLG, says he won't vote for Labour.
Ken Clarke, 9 years as Secretary of State, including as Chancellor, says he won't vote for the Conservatives.
Balanced election coverage?
— Diane Abbott (@HackneyAbbott) November 7, 2019
Perhaps though there might be a simpler reason Clarke’s comments were not reported: mainly because he has never actually said he won’t vote for the Tories. Nor did he get anywhere close to doing what Austin did and endorsing the leader of his party’s main rival. It appears Abbott was referring to an interview Clarke did with Channel 4 News this week, when he said his loyalty would be ‘strained’ during this election, but did not confirm he would vote against his party.
Yet again – and only a week after the party hit out at fake news, saying ‘ensuring honesty in public life is a responsibility that we all share’ – it appears Labour have been caught spreading fake news.
UPDATE: Despite the fact that Abbott’s inaccurate claim was quickly debunked after she made the post, it appears the Shadow Home Sec is persisting in her spreading of fake news. Seven hours after the first post, Diane Abbott went on to repeat the claim on Facebook:
Incorrect? Who cares when you’re chasing those Facebook likes…