MPs Scrub Tweets Endorsing Keir Starmer Smear

From the Independent, and widely reported:

Conservative MPs including a health minister have shared an edited video of Keir Starmer from a “far-right” Twitter account.

The footage, dating from Sir Keir’s time as director of public prosecutions in 2013, was taken from an announcement of new guidelines on charging grooming gangs.

But it had been edited to remove the start of the interview where he was asked to give examples of the “wrong approach”, making him appear to justify failing to believe child victims.

The three MPs manually RTed the Tweet with added comments of their own; both the original account and the MPs endorsements of it have now disappeared, although without the grace of a corrective for the benefit of their followers or an apology to Starmer.

Each MP handled the matter differently: Nadine Dorries simply deleted the Tweet without explanation; Maria Caulfield appears to have deleted her entire account (although there has been some suggestion it was suspended); while Lucy Allan (previously blogged here) chose to double-down on the general point while not naming Starmer again directly. Allan thus provided a short quote to Aaron Banks’s website Westmonster, in which she stated that “In standing up for victims of CSE in Telford I have had to challenge police, council, and CPS (vigorously).” She did not go into any detail, but the point was merely to create the headline “Telford MP slams establishment failure on Child Sexual Exploitation” as a self-promoting diversion from her mistake. (1)

The account that provided the misleading news clip went by the name Njames World (@NJamesWorld), and it had in excess of 25,000 followers. (2) Other Tweets from the account still visible in  Google Cache include the opinion that Priti Patel is “useless” as Home Secretary for failing to prevent the arrival of illegal immigrants; that we should remember that the Nazis were Germans, as this explains modern Germany’s position on Europe; and that illegal immigrants are “scumbags from all over the world”. He also suggested Starmer’s clapping in support of the NHS was done “for the cameras”, rather than because he genuinely cares about the NHS – a claim that also appeared elsewhere.

At LBC, James O’Brien has argued that the MPs promoted the Tweet because they were dismayed by Starmer’s performance in holding Boris Johnson to account at Prime Minister’s Question Time; but although Dorries in particular has a history of Trumpian lashing out (sometimes in concord with bad actors on social media), this explanation is unduly conspiratorial. The simple fact is that many MPs are superficial and careless, and easily manipulated into amplifying misinformation. This has been very obvious ever since the heyday of the satirical TV show Brass Eye.

Why on earth would Keir Starmer appear on TV to justify not prosecuting grooming gangs? Why would nobody have noticed the significance of it, apart from some semi-anonymous Twitter account? Two very obvious questions that went over the heads of MPs who saw what looked like an easy bit of point-scoring. But how did such rubbish even find its way into their Twitter feeds in the first place? What kind of trash is informing their decision-making on a daily basis?


1. I previously discussed media reports about “grooming” crimes in Telford here.

2. It has been suggested that “NJames World” was someone named James Edding or James Edwin, allegedly a far-right activist with “links” to National Action. However, the only source for this claim is one John O’Connell, and his claim is undocumented. This seems to be a pattern with O’Connell: last month, he made headlines with claims about “128 Twitter accounts” supposedly impersonating NHS staff, but the only evidence he provided was one account that was obviously a parody rather than an impersonation. O’Connell refused to be drawn further, saying that he would produce the evidence once it was “gold plated”. That has not happened so far.