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Minister Nadine Dorries accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about Labour leader

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Image copyright EPA Image caption Nadine Dorries has deleted the post from her Twitter timeline Health minister Nadine Dorries has been accused of spreading “fake news” about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.Ms Dorries shared a video suggesting Sir Keir had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs when he was director of public prosecutions.The video, which…

Nadine Dorries

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EPA

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Nadine Dorries has deleted the post from her Twitter timeline

Health minister Nadine Dorries has been accused of spreading “fake news” about Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer.

Ms Dorries shared a video suggesting Sir Keir had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs when he was director of public prosecutions.

The video, which had been selectively edited in an apparent attempt to discredit the Labour leader, was shared by two other Tory MPs.

The three MPs have now deleted the tweets or locked their accounts.

As director of public prosecutions between 2008 and 2013, Sir Keir was head of the Crown Prosecution Service, the body that decides whether or not to prosecute someone accused of a crime.

‘Far-right smear’

The clip shared by Ms Dorries and fellow Tory MPs Maria Caulfield and Lucy Allan was from a 2013 Channel 5 interview with Sir Keir.

In it, he appeared to be listing a series of reasons for not bringing charges against grooming gangs – including if the alleged victims had been in trouble with the police, or had been abusing drink or drugs.

But the clip does not include the reporter’s question, which asks Sir Keir about the incorrect use of guidelines being used by the authorities in the reporting and investigating of child sexual abuse allegations.

As can be seen from the full exchange, Sir Keir was talking about how the police wrongly applied the guidelines, and how police culture had to change.

Ms Dorries retweeted the edited clip and allegations against Sir Keir, from the right-wing @NJamesWorld account, with the one word comment “revealing”.

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Twitter

Labour MP and shadow Treasury minister 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.”

‘Doctored video’

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.”

The edited video was viewed more than 239,000 before the @NJamesWorld account was suspended.

Ms Caulfield subsequently locked her Twitter account. while Ms Dorries and Ms Allan both deleted their tweets.

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