Politics

Voter accuses Boris Johnson of lying after he denies knowing about fake website set up by Tories to trick public


A young mother has accused Boris Johnson of lying after he told her he knew nothing about a fake Labour website set up by the Conservatives to trick voters.

Page Hood – who also said she was “scared” about the state of the NHS after five-hour waits with her sick son in A&E – confronted the prime minister on the campaign trail over election dirty tricks.

Her accusation follows widespread criticism of the Tories for paying Google to promote the website labourmanifesto.co.uk – which in fact pumped out Mr Johnson’s policies and attacks Mr Corbyn’s.

“If Labour and their manifesto don’t scare the Conservatives, why then was a fake website set up and Google paid to put them above Labour’s website, so people can’t even find what they are looking for,” Ms Hood demanded to know.

The prime minister blustered before responding: “The short answer to that question is I haven’t got the foggiest idea.”

He then tried to switch the conversation back to Brexit, claiming that was “what the people of this country want to hear” – prompting someone else to say that was “not what that lady wants to hear”.

Interviewed later, Ms Hood criticised Mr Johnson for dodging her question, saying: “It was really empty – he didn’t answer it.”


Page Hood criticises Boris Johnson over fake news website

And she alleged: “It’s either that he doesn’t know, and surely he should know what on earth is going on in his own government, or he knew about it and he lied.”

During the same question-and-answer session, Mr Johnson was accused of “a pathetic attempt” to distract from criticism of his response to the A&E plight of a four-year-old boy with suspected pneumonia when he suddenly said he was “looking at” abolishing the BBC licence fee.

He questioned whether the flat fee “still makes sense in the long-term” – but immediately acknowledged there was no manifesto plan to replace it.

Tom Watson, Labour’s shadow culture secretary, said: “This is a pathetic attempt by Boris Johnson to distract from his refusal to even look at the picture of a four-year-old boy forced to sleep on a hospital floor.”

The fake website row blew up last month. It features a picture of Jeremy Corbyn at the top and the headline “Labour’s 2019 manifesto”.

The row followed a separate controversy when the Tories set up a fake “fact-checking” service to endorse Mr Johnson during a televised election debate.

The episode was brought up by Ms Hood when the prime minister visited Ferguson’s Transport, a hauliers in Washington, near Sunderland, where he was targeting Labour switch voters.

When he denied knowledge of the dirty tricks, he was asked: “Are you not aware of that ‘Factcheck UK’ Twitter website Mr Johnson.”

He tried to claim “a lot of this is basically a kind of media diversion” – but was told, of Ms Hood: “She’s not a journalist prime minister.”

The young mother also told him “it’s been interfered with” and “shouldn’t you know what’s going on?”


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