The Conservatives have been accused of releasing a misleading campaign video after doctoring footage to falsely suggest that a senior Labour figure had been unable to answer a question about Brexit.

The clip, posted by the Tories on social media, showed an interview with Sir Keir Starmer, the shadow Brexit secretary, in which he appeared to have faltered for words when asked about his party’s Brexit policy.

In reality, however, Sir Keir provided a full answer to the question he was asked.

The Tory campaign video featured footage of the shadow Brexit secretary being interviewed by ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB).

Sir Keir explained Labour’s policy of seeking to negotiate a new Brexit deal within six months and then putting this to the public in a second referendum, with Remain as the other option. Along with many other Labour MPs, he has previously said he would campaign for Remain in such a poll.

The interview culminated with GMB presenter Piers Morgan asking Sir Keir: “Why would the EU give you a good deal if they’re know that you’re actively going to campaign against it, which is clearly what most of you are going to be doing?”

The footage released by the Tories had been edited to show Mr Starmer looking confused and pausing for several seconds, suggesting he had not answered the question. The video was captioned: “Labour has no plan for Brexit.”

But in the actual interview, Sir Keir responded to the question immediately, saying: “I have been talking to the EU, to political leaders across the EU 27 countries, for three years and I know very well what the parameters are of any deal that they would do with a Labour government.

“We actually explored some of it in the cross-party talks that we were in with the government six months or so ago, so I know that a customs union, single market alignment and protection of workers’ rights and environment rights and consumer rights is something that can be negotiated.”

After Twitter users pointed out that the Tory video was misleading and that Mr Starmer had answered the question in full, Mr Morgan posted saying: “Correct, he did, albeit not very convincingly – but the way this has been edited is misleading and unfair to Keir Starmer.”

The charity FullFact also criticised the Conservatives, saying "The footage has been edited to make it seem as though Mr Starmer does not respond."

It added: "Everyone deserves clear and accurate information from campaigns so they can make their own minds up about who to vote for."

Despite criticism of the video, the Conservatives defended the doctored footage, with the party’s media team saying: “There have been some enquiries about the veracity of Keir Starmer’s interview this morning where he was unable to explain Labour’s plan to delay Brexit. Believe it or not, this car crash interview did really take place.”

The tweet was accompanied by a clip of some of the GMB interview but, significantly, did not include the question that the initial video had suggested Sir Keir had been unable to answer. 

Social media is an increasingly important battle ground in elections - and home to many questionable claims pumped out by all sides. If social media sites won't investigate the truth of divisive advertising, we will. Please send any political Facebook advertising you receive to digitaldemocracy@independent.co.uk, and we will catalogue and investigate it. Read more here.

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