Prime Minister’s Fake News Announcement Was Itself Fake News: Labour Deputy Leader
“It's typical of Theresa May: once you scratch the surface, there's nothing there.”

The Prime Ministers’ ‘fake news unit’ was itself branded fake news today, after the government failed to provide basic details of how it will work.

Last week, Theresa May announced the creation of a specialised Government team dedicated to tackling the wave of anti-Western propaganda she believes in being spread by hostile foreign states such as Russia.

A spokesperson for the prime minister said “The new National Security Communications Unit” would be tasked with: “combating disinformation by state actors and others. It will more systematically deter our adversaries and help us deliver on national security priorities.”

The announcement followed followed a speech by the PM last year in which she accused Russia of waging a “fake news” war against the West online.

Read More: Conservative Mps Sign A Letter Of No Confidence In Theresa May

“[Russia] is seeking to weaponise information. Deploying its state-run media organisations to plant fake stories and photo-shopped images in an attempt to sow discord in the West and undermine our institutions,” May said.

Despite announcing the creation of the unit to the press, the government has been unable to reveal even the most basic details of how it will work.

When the Labour Deputy leader Tom Watson asked a series of Parliamentary Questions about the unit, but Ministers were unable to explain where it will be based, how many staff it will have, who will be in charge of it or how much money will be allocated to running it.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said: “The Cabinet Office has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.”

Watson said: “It seems the Prime Minister’s fake news announcement was itself fake news.

“The government can’t say what the National Security Communications Unit’s remit is, where it will be based, how many staff it will have or what resources will be allocated to it.”

“It may have made headlines, but until ministers can answer the most basic questions about it, their big story is nothing but spin.”

“It’s typical of Theresa May: once you scratch the surface, there’s nothing there.”

A Government spokesperson said: “The Government is committed to tackling disinformation.”

“We will build on existing capabilities by creating a dedicated National Security Communications unit and the NSCR will set out further details when published”.

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