Boris Johnson gave an unbelievable answer when he was asked about the Conservative Party pushing “fake news” on social media.
During last week’s TV debate between Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, the Conservatives were criticised for rebranding the official Tory press office (CCHQ) on Twitter as an independent fact-checking organisation.
Tory MPs have insisted it was clear the account was run by the party but many have accused them of attempting to mislead voters.
At the Conservative manifesto launch on Sunday, the Guardian’s Rowena Mason asked if the move had undermined trust in Johnson’s party.
His answer was a typically incoherent mix of historical references and political attacks...
Here’s the answer in full (edited for some sense of clarity):
Well Rowena, I’m afraid that the Twittersphere is not really my province. What I can say is that I’m informed that Labour have some sort of operation which is very similar to this.
I haven’t followed this Twitter stuff with perhaps the attention that you would like Rowena. I will apprise myself of the detail of this.
But when it comes to trust in politics and the facts of this election, what we need to know… there is one giant fact which we continue to chase down, like The Hunting of the Snark, or the quest for the answer to Fermat’s last theorem, or the riddle of the Sphinx, or the Bermuda Triangle… we still… the one fact that we wish to discover, the one hard crouton fact that we search for in the great minestrone of Labour’s policy on Brexit is what is the position of the leader of the Labour Party on whether he wants to come out of the European Union.
So in short, Johnson answered a question about trust in the Conservative Party by pretending he hadn’t heard about one of the biggest stories of the week and attacking Corbyn.
And for the record, Labour does do fact-checking on Twitter but it doesn't pretend to be an independent organisation while doing it.
The prime minister’s rambling answer did not impress viewers on social media.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the World Wide Web, has also weighed-in on the Tory "fact-checking" trick and called their actions “unbelievable”.
He told the BBC on Monday:
Don't trust people who do that.