Cornish theatre calls out Tory minister after he claimed the government helped them out during the pandemic

Culture secretary Oliver Dowden has been forced to delete a tweet in which he claimed a Cornish theatre had benefitted from Government support - after the open-air theatre replied to say it was simply “not true”.

It follows a tweet from Jill Biden, the first lady, on Friday where she praised a “beautiful and powerful program for G7 spouses” at the Minack Theatre, which is located in Porthcurno and overlooks the sea.

Quoting the tweet, Mr Dowden wrote that he was “delighted” that Dr Biden - along with the prime minister’s wife, Carrie Johnson - were able to spend time at the theatre.

He added: “This unique venue was one of more than 650 theatres helped through Covid with support from the £2bn Culture Recovery Fund, ensuring that it can entertain visitors for years to come.”

Except, it wasn’t, and the Minack Theatre soon responded to correct the record.

“Sorry @OliverDowden, but this is not true. We did not benefit from any CRF [Culture Recovery Fund] money as we were not eligible to apply.

“It turned out having a good level of cash reserves meant we had to fend for ourselves and utilise our own reserves,” they replied.

The secretary’s tweet has since been heavily criticised on Twitter, with users describing the incident as “embarrassing”:

Although the tweet in question has been deleted, Mr Dowden is yet to issue an apology for the false claim.

A spokesperson from the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport told indy100: “Over 650 theatres have benefitted from over £250m of support through our Culture Recovery Fund to date. A tweet was briefly issued in error that the Minack was one of them and we have now spoken directly to the theatre who have accepted our apology.”

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