A week ago, the Mail and other ‘MSM’ outlets were running fake news about a huge fall in Labour Party membership, claiming that it had dropped by around 150,000 compared to a year ago, to 385,000.
Not only was membership not falling, but Labour had just received the biggest donations in its history – outside of general election periods – in the week leading up to the Mail’s false claim.
So a week after the claims were thoroughly exposed, you’d think an MP would know better than to believe them when regurgitated by a Murdoch rag – but that’s exactly what right-wing Labour figure Mike Gapes did:
Gapes has been a continual opponent of Labour’s leadership, so it’s scarcely surprising to see him jump on an article claiming something negative. But it’s considerably more noteworthy – and thoroughly welcome – for a Labour general secretary to publicly correct a Labour MP sharing fake news, as Jennie Formby did in response to Gapes’ tweet:
The SKWAWKBOX contacted Mike Gapes to ask why he was still propagating discredited claims that Labour’s membership is falling. He responded “Because it is.”
Mike Gapes would have no right of access to Labour’s national membership figures as a back-bench MP. Is he merely happy to swallow whole the claims of a Murdoch publication, even a week after they’ve been exposed – or did wishful thinking get the better of him.
Either way it’s ironic for him to trumpet claims of a membership fall over Brexit, given he was among a mere handful of MPs last week to indicate they plan to vote against Jeremy Corbyn’s intelligent amendment to force Theresa May make time for MPs to discuss and vote on the issue of a public vote on May’s deal.
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