Doctored video targets Labour politician as UK election ramps up

A video shared on X purports to show Labour shadow health secretary Wes Streeting, who is standing for reelection to the British Parliament, calling veteran MP Diane Abbott a "silly woman" during a BBC television appearance. But the clip was altered to include words that Streeting never spoke -- and which do not feature in the broadcaster's published recording of the TV program.

"Wes Streeting calls Diane Abbott a 'silly woman' on Politics Live," says a June 3, 2024 post on X. "You can clearly hear the microphone pick it up."

"What an absolutely disgraceful human being. The Labour Party truly are just full of really nasty people."

Screenshot from X taken June 4, 2024

Another post calls for Streeting to be "sacked."

The posts include a 27-second clip from the BBC's "Politics Live" show that appears to show Streeting insulting Abbott as host Jo Coburn asked about -- and showed on screen -- a since-deleted post from the left-wing trailblazer, who has criticized his health policy proposals.

Abbott said she would run for Labour in the United Kingdom's July 4 elections after days of confusion over the party's position on putting her forward as a candidate, more than a year after she was suspended from its parliamentary group over a racism row.

Streeting is also running for reelection in what polls suggest will be a sweeping win for Labour, bringing the party and leader Keir Starmer to power after 14 years of Conservative rule. 

But the clip shared online is doctored.

The BBC's official recording of the June 3 episode of "Politics Live," posted to its website's "iPlayer," includes no such jibe (archived here).

A spokesperson for the broadcaster told AFP in a June 5 email that the iPlayer version of the program is correct and the video spreading on social media is "altered."

Streeting said the same on X.

"A fake video is circulating from Politics Live today," he wrote (archived here). "It contains words I did not use. People can check the original footage on iPlayer, but so far it has only fooled the gullible."

In reality, Streeting told Coburn and the rest of the "Politics Live" panel that he feels "confident that the conduct that saw Diane Abbott lose the Whip and be suspended will not be repeated."

"That doesn't mean that Diane Abbott is going to stop being Diane Abbott, and she will continue to disagree with us because the Labour Party has changed and we're not always on the same page," he said. "And look, she tweets on an almost daily basis to criticize something I've said about the NHS, but I do think and I do welcome her as part of the big tent? Absolutely I do."

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