The Conservatives have been criticised for pushing out fake news to party supporters in the press, after a report of a Labour protester punching one of Matt Hancock’s advisers in the face has proved entirely false.
Secretary of State for Health Matt Hancock was dispatched to Leeds General Infermary to investigate the lack of beds, after a strange interview showed Prime Minister Boris Johnson refusing to look at a photograph of a young boy with suspected pneumonia forced to sleep on a pile of coats on the floor while waiting for treatment.
Hancock was met at the hospital by a small but loud group of protesters, who complained about cuts to the NHS that have left the health service struggling to meet demand and missing targets across the board.
Shortly after Hancock left the hospital by car, one of his aides walked into the already raised arm of a protester. Neither party appears to have been injured in the accident and the adviser made no complaint at the time.
However, shortly after the incident, reports began to swirl that an ‘angry Labour supporter’ “punched” one of Hancock’s advisers in the face after the Tory press office “leaked” the story to friendly members of the press, who promptly shared the story on social media without any verification of the facts.
The rumours were hastily turned into news stories on the Daily Mail and Express, keen to use the incident as a demonstration of the ‘violent left’.
As the rumours swirled, a video of the incident made it online showing that no assault took place, and Hancock’s aid walked into the raised arm of the protester. The entire story was a fabrication by Conservative Party HQ to distract from the photograph of the young boy suffering from NHS cuts.
Have video from Hancock leaving Leeds General just come through so you can see for yourself – doesn’t look like punch thrown, rather, one of Tory team walks into protestor’s arm, pretty grim encounter pic.twitter.com/hD1KwA72gG
— Laura Kuenssberg (@bbclaurak) December 9, 2019