Tories slammed for 'misleading' video of Labour MP Jess Phillips

Tories slammed for 'misleading' video of Labour MP Jess Phillips

Conservative Party HQ has come under fire numerous times so far in the election campaign for its behaviour on social media.

After appearing to doctor a video of Labour’s Brexit spokesperson Keir Starmer looking stumped, the party found itself in hot water again this week after it was accused of spreading misinformation by pretending to be an impartial fact-checking service.

Now the Tories are facing fresh accusations of dodgy editing, after a clip of an interview with Labour MP Jess Phillips appeared on the party’s official Twitter page.

The clip, taken from a 3 October interview with the Labour MP on Good Morning Britain, shows a drastically shortened version of a discussion about manifestos removing a certain amount of context from the end.

But, even more suspiciously, the version that was tweeted by the Tory Twitter account also has been "updated".

The clip is updated with "Election 2019: Labour manifesto launch" to make it seem like Phillips is discussing the party's official manifesto launch which she in fact was not. The new version has also been updated with new graphics that include topical sports news, reinforcing the perception that the interview has taken place this week.

Here's the original interview, which clearly shows that Phillips is discussing her book and abuse in politics.

And here's a screengrab of the new version, Tweeted out by @Conservatives. Spot the difference?

There was also this version, with an updated time stamp, which was posted by @CCHQPress, the same account that was also in trouble this week for rebranding as 'factcheckerUK', which is all kinds of ironic.

Then there's the framing of the discussion, which has been cut short to further remove the context.

Presenter Susanna Reid asked Phillips:

The electorate want you to keep to those promises, don’t they?

When Phillips said that her constituents rarely quote manifestos back to her, she was asked if voters should just ignore manifesto promises.

Phillips, who was on the show to talk about the death threats she receives, responded:

To be perfectly honest I think that there is an argument to be said that you can never ever deliver all of those things that you’re pretending that you can deliver when you go to the electorate. In reality, things change. Globally things change, situations change, facts change.

When asked why she was telling people not to trust manifestos, the Tory social media post cut the clip off a few seconds later.

But the video continued, with Phillips responding with a more detailed explanation behind her views and how she is in fact asking politicians to be more honest.

She said:

Situations genuinely change. I can’t control the trade war between America and China. I have to, each and every day as a politician, I have to look at the facts in front of me – and at the moment it is on a day to day basis, which is not good because we have future planning.

And I have to say: ‘what is the best decision I can make today, to make sure that my constituents are better off?’

And sometimes, I get it wrong. Sometimes I will stand on platforms and say things that I later find I can’t necessarily deliver and I wish more people were honest about it.

Later in the interview, Phillips clarified that she didn't say people "shouldn't trust" politicians or that politicians "don't believe" in their manifestos, but stands by the view that sometimes manifesto pledges are impossible to keep because bigger factors change.

On Twitter, people noticed the difference between the two clips. Lots of people accused the Tories of "doctoring" the footage.

As for how this came to be, the Guardian's technology editor Alex Hern tweeted to say that Good Morning Britain re-aired the footage today.

The channel did re-air the footage, which explains the "Labour manifesto" update, but they did include an "October 3" time stamp in the top right to clarify that the footage isold.

However, Hern also pointed out that, in another version of the video posted by @CCHQPress, the Conservatives added a label saying 21 November 2019 to the top left.

Of course, this wasn't in the original or the re-aired Good Morning Britain footage. Hern said this crosses the line into "actively misleading".

But not everyone was convinced that the bulk of the blame for the heavily clipped and altered footage should be assigned an ITV morning show rather than the government.

indy100 has contacted the Conservative Party for comment.

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