Conservatives slammed over Sadiq Khan clip

Conservatives slammed over Sadiq Khan clip

Related video: Sadiq Khan reacts to 'deeply upsetting' fake AI audio of him condemning Armistice Day

Why Do You Hate Me?, BBC

The Conservative Party is facing accusations of “disgraceful” politics again, after sharing an edited clip of Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, saying Labour is “proud to be both anti-racist and antisemitic” during an interview on Sky News.

The clip, taken from a discussion about the rise in antisemitism, was shared by the Tories on Thursday with the caption: “Sadiq Khan says the quiet part out loud.”

Except, that wasn’t the full clip, as Khan actually corrected himself immediately after he misspoke.

Khan said: “When I speak to Jewish Londoners, the way they receive some of these things, they feel scared, they feel frightened, and sometimes, this language can be used as a code.

“I think we’ve got to be cognizant of that, particularly if you aspire to be a member of parliament, or you’ve been a member of parliament.”

The comments followed the news that Labour parliamentary candidates Azhar Ali and Graham Jones had been suspended by the party after they were alleged to have made antisemitic remarks during a council meeting.

Khan continued: “I’m only going off what I’ve read in the media, so I’ve not seen the transcripts, but as far as I’m concerned, that sort of language isn’t acceptable, and it certainly isn’t acceptable in a party like mine, that is proud to be anti-racist, but also antisemitic.

“I beg your pardon, tackling antisemitism.”

The tweet now has a Community Note displayed underneath it, which states the clip “has been cut short” and that the politician “immediately corrected himself”.

It’s also been slammed in responses from both sides of the political spectrum:

Speaking to BBC Newsnight, business minister Kevin Hollinrake said he had "no idea" why his party shared the video and added: "I think we should give an accurate portrayal of what somebody's said. Clearly he's made a mistake.

"I wouldn't support something which is clearly an honest mistake from Sadiq Khan."

The party's chair, meanwhile, Richard Holden, stressed to Times Radio that the video has "not been edited", but rather "it was clipped".

“I think we both know the difference between editing something to misconstrue or clipping something.

"And I think the issue we’re trying to highlight, and I think which is really important, is that the Labour Party hasn’t changed, whether it comes to antisemitism within it under Keir Starmer,” he said.

The timing isn’t exactly great either, as earlier this week Sadiq Khan spoke to the BBC about a deepfaked audio released ahead of Armistice Day in November, regarding a pro-Palestinian protest.

In an interview with BBC News’ disinformation and social media correspondent, Marianna Spring, Khan said: “It was deliberately made to give the impression that I said what I hadn’t said, but it looked and sounded so authentic, we did get concerned very quickly about what impression it may create.”

The mayor has since responded to the edited clip from the Tories, telling the Evening Standard that "it's for the Conservatives to stay in the gutter. I'm not going to do that."

He added: "This issue is too important. There are too many Londoners and those across the country of Jewish background, of Jewish faith, Jewish heritage, who are on the receiving end of antisemitism.

"Since I've been mayor, I've been an ally of the Jewish community. We've got to tackle antisemitism - it's really important that we don't use this as a political football."

And it’s not the first time tweets from the Conservatives' Twitter/X account have been condemned by politicians and the public alike.

One well-known example came in the run-up to the 2019 general election, when the account rebranded itself as ‘FactcheckUK’ to resemble an independent fact-checking organisation.

More recently, after BBC newsreader Maryam Moshiri went viral after being caught on camera giving the middle finger, the Conservatives took the image and turned it into a meme with the caption: “Labour when you ask for their plans to tackle illegal immigration”.

Even Tory MPs such as Alicia Kearns (who heads up the Foreign Affairs Select Committee) and Tobias Ellwood (former defence minister) criticised the tweet and called for it to be taken down.

It’s still up at the time of writing, as is the Khan tweet.

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