Minister accused of spreading ‘fake news’ about Labour leader

Health minister Nadine Dorries has been accused of spreading "fake news" after sharing a video on social media suggesting Sir Keir Starmer had been reluctant to prosecute grooming gangs when he was director of public prosecutions.

Ms Dorries re-tweeted the clip of an interview with the Labour leader in which he appeared to be listing a series of reasons for not bringing charges – including if the alleged victims had been in trouble with the police – with the comment "revealing".

But Labour said the video had clearly been "doctored" and that he was actually explaining the flaws in previous guidance to prosecutors which he had withdrawn and replaced.

In response to the post by Ms Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, Labour's Wes Streeting relied: "What's revealing is that: 1. You've spread fake news and indulged a smear being promoted by the far right. 2. You had time to do this despite being a minister in the Department of Health during a public health crisis.

"It's either malevolence or stupidity. Probably both."

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DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: L-R) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
NEWPORT, UNITED KINGDOM - FEBRUARY 19: Sir Keir Starmer poses for a portrait during a Labour leadership rally at the Neon on February 19, 2020 in Newport, Wales. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who offered to step down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. (Photo by Matthew Horwood/Getty Images
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Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's opposition Labour Party Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer speaks to members of the media as he leaves the BBC headquarters after appearing on The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain January 5, 2020. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn and Labour Party's Shadow Secretary of State for Departing the European Union Keir Starmer leave after a meeting with European Union's Chief Brexit Negotiator Michel Barnier in Brussels, Belgium March 21, 2019. REUTERS/Yves Herman
File photo dated 05/02/10 of Keir Starmer QC, the Director of public prosecution, at the CPS headquarters in London, making a statement about MP's who face charges over their expenses claims. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 05/09/06 of human rights advisors Keir Starmer (left) and Jane Gordon, with the Northern Ireland Policing Board annual human rights report 2006, at the Dunadry Hotel in Co Antrim. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 25/09/07 of human rights lawyers Keir Starmer QC and Jane Gordon at the Belfast launch of a major report monitoring the Police Service of Northern Ireland's compliance with the Human Rights Act. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 23/09/08 of Keir Starmer QC, the director of public prosecutions, at the publishing of his final guidelines on prosecutions for assisted suicide at the CPS headquarters at Ludgate Hill in London. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
File photo dated 29/04/19 of shadow Brexit secretary Sir Keir Starmer (left) and shadow chancellor John McDonnell leaving the Cabinet Office in Westminster, London. Sir Keir Starmer has been elected as the next leader of the Labour Party, beating rivals Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy after the first round of voting.
Labour leadership candidates (left to right) Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy during the Labour leadership hustings event hosted by the Co-operative Party, at the Business Design Centre, London.
File photo dated 15/02/20 (left to right) Labour leadership candidates Rebecca Long-Bailey, Lisa Nandy and Sir Keir Starmer after a Labour leadership hustings.
Labour leadership candidate Sir Keir Starmer meets patient Chris Evans (left) and his wife Jeanne Wilby during a visit to Addenbrooke's Hospital in Cambridge, Cambridgeshire.
Keir Starmer during the Labour leadership hustings at the ACC Liverpool. Picture date: Saturday January 18, 2020. Photo credit should read: Isabel Infantes / EMPICS Entertainment.
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: L-R) Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, addresses the audience during the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Sir Keir Starmer, Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union, takes part in the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
DUDLEY, ENGLAND - MARCH 08: Lisa Nandy, MP for Wigan reacts as she takes part in the last Labour Party Leadership hustings at Dudley Town Hall on March 08, 2020 in Dudley, England. Sir Keir Starmer, Rebecca Long-Bailey and Lisa Nandy are vying to replace Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, who is stepping down following his party's loss in the December 2019 general election. The new leader and deputy will be announced on 4 April, 2020. (Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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The former senior prosecutor Nazir Afzal, who was involved in bringing a number of cases, said the clip was being used to suggest Sir Keir did not take child sexual abuse seriously, when the opposite was true.

"As national lead, I can assure you that he and I put right the failings of a generation of those who should have safeguarded children. He inherited failure and left success," he tweeted.

A Labour Party source said: "This is a doctored video tweeted by a far-right social media account.

"As a Government minister, we hope Nadine Dorries acknowledges this and takes it down."

Following the furore, the posting appeared to have been deleted from Ms Dorries's timeline.

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