Boris Johnson accused of 'faking' crowds at Conservative Party election campaign launch

Boris Johnson has been accused of faking crowds at his campaign launch after photos emerged seeming to show huge open spaces around the supporters.

The Prime Minister launched the Conservative Party election campaign at the NEC in the West Midlands on Wednesday night, urging voters to "come with us".

He spoke to cheers from party members and activists, with some reports suggesting that there were only 500 handpicked members at the launch.

Images released show a packed crowd of supporters, even though the NEC hall was only about a third full.

Some critics compared the apparently careful management of images to make it appear as if Mr Johnson was addressing a packed crowd of supporters to US President Donald Trump's choreographed appearances.

Actor and writer David Schneider shared a picture with the caption: "Fake promises to get Brexit done, Fake numbers of hospitals being built, Fake NHS stats, Fake promises on schools, Fake Brexit deadlines, Fake statements on free trade and free ports, Faked videos, Faked adverts, All in front of a fake large crowd. Welcome to the Tory Campaign Launch."

Journalist Paul Mason wrote: "Morning, media students: this is a shot of Boris Johnson's launch event.

"Now watch last night's TV news coverage of it and repeat after me "I must not manufacture consent"...."

Activists and supporters also wore t-shirts sporting slogans including "20,000 more police officers" and "Get Brexit Done" in another move condemned by critics who said they had all been told to wear the clothing which was handed out at the launch.

Journalists at the launch also pointed out the contrast between the reality of the launch and how it appeared on television.

Half an hour before the Prime Minister's arrival, a handful of demonstrators carrying Stand Up To Racism posters and chanting "Boris Johnson, hear us say, refugees here to stay" and "no to austerity" were escorted out by security.

The chants turned to "Tory scum, out of Brum" as they were moved outside.

Virgin Train delays also put a dampener on the evening, leaving senior cabinet ministers stuck at Birmingham International Station.

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Britain's Home Secretary Priti Patel speaks at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks onstage at the launch of the Conservative Party's General Election campaign at the National Exhibition Centre on November 6, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Boris Johnson visited HM The Queen earlier today to officially dissolve Parliament before heading to the West Midlands to launch the Conservative Party general election campaign. The British people will go to the polls on December 12th for the first winter election in nearly a century. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Prime Minister Boris Johnson talks onstage at the launch of the Conservative Party's General Election campaign at the National Exhibition Centre on November 6, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Boris Johnson visited HM The Queen earlier today to officially dissolve Parliament before heading to the West Midlands to launch the Conservative Party general election campaign. The British people will go to the polls on December 12th for the first winter election in nearly a century. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speaks at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Britain's Minister without Portfolio and Conservative Party Chairman James Cleverly speaks at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Carrie Symonds (2R), the partner of Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson, stands with Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid (R), Britain's Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union (Brexit Minister) Stephen Barclay (2L) and Britain's Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Kwasi Kwarteng (L), as they wait to hear Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson speak at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
BIRMINGHAM, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 06: Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union Stephen Barclay poses at the Conservative Party's General Election campaign at the National Exhibition Centre on November 6, 2019 in Birmingham, United Kingdom. Earlier today the British Prime Minister visited Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace to officially mark the dissolution of Parliament ahead of a December 12th General Election. This will be the first winter election held in the U.K. for nearly a century, with the 1923 election producing a hung parliament. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
Demonstrators hold placards denouncing Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
Conservative Party supporters collect a t-shirt with the slogan "Get Brexit Done" printed on, as they arrice to attend the Conservative Party's General Election campaign launch, at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, central England, on November 6, 2019. - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed Wednesday to get Brexit done by January and compared his Labour Party rival Jeremy Corbyn to Joseph Stalin in a strident launch to a tough pre-Christmas election campaign. The splintered country is entering its third general election in four years in search of a solution to a monumental crisis launched by the voters' decision in 2016 to file for a divorce from the European Union after nearly 50 years. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)
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