Tory Exmouth funding: fake or real news (guess which!)

So, what is the truth in the story that Exmouth is to get high street funding boost?

Exmouth could be in line for a town centre funding boost.

The second line of the Exmouth Journal article gives a clue with the word “could” which suggests its not a done deal!

The Secretary of State for housing, communities and local government Robert Jenrick said he wants Exmouth to benefit from Future High Streets Fund cash to help secure up to £20 million.

Don’t we all want our local towns to benefit from the last governments “Future High Street Funding”?

But East Devon District Council were turned down on their single application for Axminister. This was their selected town as only one town per District was allowed and Axminister was considered by the Council as the neediest, despite Cranbrook not having a town centre at all, due to developers delaying tactics and funding shortfalls!

At the latest round of funding, Exmouth was not selected with the district council putting Axminster forward.

Well they got that right!

If Exmouth was selected for future rounds, it could receive up to £150,000.

Like the first sentence in the Conservative Press Release using the word “could” notice the inclusion of the word “If”

Who says there will be another round, Parliament is actually closed, and no decision has been taken on another round of funding?

The money could allow local authorities to work on detailed project proposals that can be submitted for capital funding.

Again, notice the word “could” again, but East Devon District Council have not been invited to submit for a further round nor have the Council debated and decided which town to put forward if they had been asked!

The fund can be used to improve transport and access into town centres, convert empty retail units into new homes and workplaces, and invest in infrastructure.

They have got this right at least!

Conservative Party election candidates for East Devon Simon Jupp lobbied the government for this funding.

All MPs from the last administration have stood down, and at this very moment the ones wanting to carry on are standing for reselection. Therefore, there is no government to Lobby, and if anyone did lobby a Minister and the Minister promised anything at all they are committing what is called “Purdah” which restricts various communications and activity of Government Officers and Ministers who although not strictly working MPs but remain in office and in charge of their departments during the election period.

Mr Jenrick said: “I want Exmouth to benefit from that (the Future High Streets Fund) and be part of the next group of towns to receive up to £20m each.”

Mr Jenrick although a current minister cannot comment on behalf of the dissolved government, but he however can comment in his personal capacity, just like any Tom Dick or Harry! Therefore, he is just like you or I saying something in the Pub, he would like Exmouth to benefit from a funding stream!

Ian MacQueen, chairman of Exmouth Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is excellent news for Exmouth and demonstrates the importance of backing business to create jobs and opportunities for everyone.”

Unfortunately, Mr Macqueen is misinformed as well as everyone unfortunate enough who has read this very poor press report that gives the impression that Exmouth will benefit from £20Millian because our Tory Candidate has so “Lobbied” his mate!

The truth is, East Devon District Council is awaiting information if there will be a round 2, and if there is one, it will then decide democratically which Town they wish to put forward and then submit an application to Government.

Therefore, please disregard this spin, go to the polls tomorrow, and vote for an Honest, Truthful, Respected and Local Person – but not Simon Jupp!

Which party’s ads lie? 88% of Tory ads and 0% of Labour ads says one study!

“Many of the ads have not contained misleading claims, but the issue has also been addressed in a separate study by the non-profit organisation First Draft.

It looked just at every paid-for Facebook ad from the three main UK-wide parties run over the first four days of December:

for the Conservatives, it said that 88% (5,952) of the party’s most widely promoted ads either featured claims which had been flagged by independent fact-checking organisations including BBC Reality Check as not correct or not entirely correct.

The figure includes instances of the same claims being made across multiple posts. One example was that Labour would spend £1.2 trillion at a cost of £2,400 to every household, which was contained within 4,028 ads.

Those sums are significantly higher than others’ analysis of Labour’s plans.

For the Lib Dems, it said hundreds of potentially misleading ads had featured identical unlabelled graphs, with no indication of the source data, to claim it was the only party that could beat either Labour, the Conservatives or the SNP “in seats like yours”.

For Labour, it said that it could not find any misleading claims in ads run over the period. However, it noted that the party’s supporters were more likely to share unpaid-for electioneering posts than those of its rivals. It said one of these contained leader Jeremy Corbyn’s disputed claim that a Tory-negotiated trade deal with the US could cost the NHS up to £500m a week by driving up the cost of medicines

“Why do I have to break an embargo in order to expose press lies about Labour?”

“We’ve taken on the Mail on Sunday and won. But the newspaper regulator won’t correct the story till after the election.”

More fake news: 4 year old boy on hospital floor: account hacked to imply it was false (it wasn’t)

“A false online story that the photograph of an ill boy lying on the floor of Leeds General infirmary was staged came from a hacked account, according to the medical secretary whose name was attached to the initial post.

The woman, whose name the Guardian is withholding because she says she has received death threats since the post was made, denied posting the allegation that four-year-old Jack Willment-Barr’s mother placed him on the floor specifically to take the picture, which was on the front page of Monday’s Daily Mirror.

“I was hacked. I am not a nurse and I certainly don’t know anyone in Leeds,” the woman told the Guardian. “I’ve had to delete everything as I have had death threats to myself and my children.”

She said she had tried to report the hack of her Facebook account to Action Fraud.

The row over Jack’s treatment has become a central part of the election campaign, with Boris Johnson being criticised for repeatedly refusing to look at the photograph he was shown by a journalist during an interview on Monday.

Despite the claim that the photo was staged having been acknowledged as false, it has continued to spread on both Facebook and Twitter, largely through individual low-follower accounts cutting and pasting the original text to share with their friends.

One version, posted by a man who claims to work for the British Army’s intelligence corps, has received 2,000 shares on Facebook; another, from a self-professed former soldier, has received a further 500. …”

Even more Toey fake news

“The Mail on Sunday falsely claimed that Labour was planning to scrap a tax exemption on homeowners, in a prominent story that has since been used by the Conservatives as part of their election campaign.

The press regulator Ipso ruled that the newspaper’s reporting was inaccurate and “could cause significant concern to readers that, under a Labour government, they could be liable to pay a tax they are exempt from under current legislation.”

The Mail on Sunday headline was then used in Conservative campaign literature and shared by Tory politicians on social media.

The story said Labour wanted “to scrap the capital gains tax exemption on main homes”, citing a report called Land for the Many, written for Labour by a group of academics and campaigners.

Contrary to the Mail on Sunday’s claims, the third-party report explicitly rejected proposals to scrap the capital gains tax exemption for main homes, and instead recommended an annual levy on any increase in value of a property.

The erroneous article was published in June, and the press regulator ruled on the inaccuracy in November. The Mail on Sunday must now publish Ipso’s ruling on page 2 of its print edition and on the top half of its website for 24 hours. But because the paper sought a review of the process by which the decision was made, publication of the correction has been delayed until after the election.

The authors of the Land for the Many report, which was edited by the Guardian columnist George Monbiot, have gone public with the ruling before Thursday’s vote.

Monbiot said: “We are pleased that Ipso has now imposed a major sanction. But I fear the damage has been done. The false claim has been implanted in people’s minds that Labour is coming for your home.”

The article’s false claims were repeated on Conservative party campaign websites such as Cost of Corbyn, where the policy was described as a “movers tax”. They were also cited on the spoof Labour Manifesto website produced by the Tories, which was promoted heavily with paid-for online adverts.

The Mail on Sunday argued that although the Land for the Many report did not propose scrapping the exemption for main homes, the article was not inaccurate as the report proposed an alternative tax on the gains in capital value of main homes.

However, Ipso’s complaints committee concluded that the Mail on Sunday “inaccurately reported information featured clearly within a publicly accessible policy document”.

It said: “The correction offered by the newspaper was insufficient to address this significant inaccuracy, which had formed a central point in the article. In light of these considerations, the committee concluded that that an adjudication was the appropriate remedy.”

More Tory fake news

“An adviser to the health secretary, Matt Hancock [pictured here today at the hosputal in question]

has been involved in a confrontation with protesters outside a Leeds hospital during a Conservative general election campaign visit.

Conservative sources claimed on Monday afternoon that the adviser had been hit by one of the protesters. But a video that quickly emerged appeared to show the adviser walking into a protester’s arm.

West Yorkshire Police later said they were “unaware of any reports” of an incident involving election campaigners at the hospital. …”

“Disgruntled Tories may stay at home in East Devon, giving Independent candidate Claire Wright a chance”

Tory parachuted-in candidate described as “straight from Tory central casting” – love it!

“Independent candidate Claire Wright is gaining ground on the Conservatives:

Fake news, the ripping down of posters, an independent candidate with a chance of winning, and a new Conservative candidate helicoptered in from central casting.

The sleepy coastal constituency of East Devon is not at all used to such excitement at election time. This, according to pretty much any expert you choose to listen to, is the only seat in the UK where the independent has a realistic chance of winning a seat in Westminster.

That independent candidate is Claire Wright, currently a local councillor and a lifelong resident of the constituency.

The i politics newsletter cut through the noise

“I am going to win. I can feel it here,” she says raising her hand to her chest.

Her confidence is not entirely misplaced. It is clear that Ms Wright is the only candidate in East Devon that can beat the Conservatives for the first time in 156 years.

Boris Johnson visited an East Devon farm shop in an attempt to give the Conservative candidate a boost.

The Tories are clearly concerned at the momentum building for Ms Wright. So much so that Boris Johnson popped up in a local farm shop to support his candidate on Thursday. The same day Ms Wright gained her own celebrity endorsement from Hugh Grant.

Mr Johnson showed up to extol the virtues of Simon Jupp, who has left his role as an adviser to Dominic Raab in the Treasury in an attempt to retain the constituency for the Conservatives following the retirement of Hugo Swire, who bequeathed him a majority of just over 8,000 to defend.

Third time lucky?

While such a buffer would usually suffice, Ms Wright believes her third attempt at the seat is going to send Jupp back to London with his tail between his legs.

Since her first effort in 2015, Ms Wright has all but wiped out support for the Liberal Democrats, and, after the 2017 election, slashed the Tory majority by a third.

“There’s three key things that are different this time around,” says Ms Wright. “First, the funding has been much easier this time around. We’re not quite at our expenses limit of £16,000, but we’re not far off.

“Second, we’re finding far more people know who I am in this campaign, and, third, more and more of them realise that voting for me as an independent candidate is not a wasted vote. They know what I stand for and they know I can win this.”

During her decade in district and county politics Ms Wright has been a vociferous campaigner for local NHS services, environmental matters and education. Indeed, if you put her manifesto pledges next to those of the Liberal Democrats, then you would be hard pushed to notice much difference.

A ‘final’ Brexit referendum

However, one area where she does move away from the Lib Dems is on Brexit. She advocates a second, and final, referendum on this most divisive of issues.

“In that second referendum, I will campaign to remain,” she says. “Clearly, my opponent is pro-Brexit and there’s a distinct difference in our positions on this and so many other incredibly important issues facing people today. I want to boost our local services, while the government has cut funding to them. I want to keep the smaller hospitals like the one we have here in Exmouth open. The Conservative cuts means they could be forced to close. I want to make huge changes in the way we tackle the climate emergency immediately. The Conservatives don’t.”

While the 54 per cent of voters in the East Devon district opted in favour of Brexit, the Parliamentary constituency map extends a little further to the west and into the suburbs of remain voting Exeter. This means the split between leavers and remainers is almost straight down the middle in the Parliamentary seat.

After an hour talking in the Exmouth ice cream parlour owned by her enthusiastic campaign manager Tony Badcott, she drives up to the Brixington area of this beach-loving community to knock on some doors, trying to convince more voters of her ability to represent them in the Commons.

In previous campaigns Ms Wright had not focused her efforts on such areas because they were considered staunch Tory. However, there does appear to be something of a shift. As she walks from door to door, there are two clear themes. Either people are voting for her, or those that did vote Conservative last time remain undecided. The undecideds are in the clear majority, with several Brexiteers suggesting they will not bother voting.

“I voted for Brexit and for the Tories, but they didn’t get Brexit done,” said one animated voter. “I’m not going to bother voting for any of them. They all just lie, and lie and lie.”

While this is clearly a vote Ms Wright cannot count on, it is an indication of what could be the determining factor in East Devon. The more disgruntled, Brexit-backing Conservative voters stay at home on polling day, the greater her odds of winning will be.

Such a victory would be an extraordinary event, as it would be the first ever victory for an independent candidate that has faced competition from all the main parties. There’s no Remain pact here. The Lib Dems and Green Party candidates are currently refusing to give Ms Wright her blessing, despite the fact that their votes could prove crucial in preventing what they do not want most – a Conservative victory.

A new ‘local newspaper’ appears

During the afternoon’s canvassing a member of Ms Wright’s small army of committed volunteers gets in touch with her, after receiving the first, and probably only, edition of East Devon Future through her letterbox. Only on close inspection, and with the help of some magnification for many, does it become clear this ‘local paper’ is nothing of the kind. It is funded, in fact, by the Conservative and Unionist Party.

“It’s fake news,” says Ms Wright. “It’s a clear attempt to deceive voters.”

Conservative central office has posted this newspaper through voters’ letterboxes.

Just an hour or so later, as darkness begins to fall on her campaigning in Brixington, Ms Wright also learns that one of her large campaign boards had been ripped down by “two men dressed in black”. Things are certainly ramping up with only 12 days of campaigning left.

As for Ms Wright’s Conservative opponent, he appears to have realised tide on the River Exe could be turning against him. At Thursday’s hustings at Exmouth Community College, Mr Jupp could not apologise enough for what the Conservatives have delivered, or, for many in the audience, failed to deliver in a raft of areas such as the NHS, education and the environment.

“I am sorry for that,” he began several answers with, hoping the voters would now trust him to make things better.

Ms Wright says: “It was a surprise to hear him lament the ‘scandal that food banks exist’, that the NHS had been ‘neglected’ and to declare that ‘funding has been far too low for far too long’ in our schools.

“His admission that the Conservatives had been ‘not too friendly toward teachers in the past’ will come as no surprise to the watching teachers at Exmouth Community college. They had to write a begging letter to parents when there was not enough money to buy simple materials.”

While no one i spoke to, other than Ms Wright herself, could say she will win for sure, the pressure is certainly on Mr Jupp to deliver for the current occupant of No.10.

When one member of that hustings audience interrupted him to highlight “the devastation Tory austerity cuts had caused” cracks in the Conservative candidate’s composure began to show.

“Don’t heckle,” Mr Jupp snapped back at the voter. “It’s quite rude.”

You get the feeling there’s a lot more heckling left in this race yet.”

“Tories buy fake website bearing Labour MP’s name as party intensifies ‘dirty tricks’ campaign”

“The Conservatives are under fire for more “dirty tricks” after buying up a website address in the name of a Labour candidate – to tell voters to “stop Jeremy Corbyn.”

The domain name – instead of promoting the former Labour foreign secretary, a candidate in Derby South – reads ‘Don’t Vote Labour’ and attacks her voting record.

A video of her Conservative rival, Ed Barker, carries the banner: “As the Labour candidate hasn’t set up her own website, I thought I’d do one for her.”

The stunt was attacked by Ms Beckett who told The Independent: “This seems to be more Tory dirty tricks, which is par for the course. It’s also a bit pathetic.

“If they were confident in their case, they would simply put that case forward instead of doing something like this to give people the wrong impression.”

Approached by The Independent, the Conservative Party did not deny that its candidate bought up the domain name and refused to comment.

The row comes after the controversies that saw the Conservatives set up both a fake ‘factchecking’ service and a fake Labour website that instead pumped out Tory policies.

At the weekend, Mr Corbyn protested that the succession of Tory stunts was bringing “politics and democracy into disrepute”. …”

More Tory “fake news”: eight Tory ads banned by Google

“The Conservatives are running such a rampant fake news campaign that Google is now done with it. The tech giant has [banned] eight separate Tory party online adverts.

There have been many instances of disinformation from the Conservatives this election, such as:

Editing videos to misrepresent Labour figures.
A fake Labour manifesto website.
Pretending to be an independent fact-checker on social media.
Setting up fake encounters with voters for the camera.

And now we have eight banned adverts. Google would not disclose the content of the ads nor the specific reasons why they were removed. But the tech multinational’s guidelines claim that “we don’t allow ads or destinations that deceive users”.

‌“Tories are relying on cynical and dishonest tactics”

Labour Party chair Ian Lavery said:

The fact that the Conservatives are resorting to fake news shows that they have no plans or desire to improve the lives of people in Britain. While Labour is running the biggest, people-powered campaign for real change in a generation, the Tories are relying on cynical and dishonest tactics.

It’s unclear how deceptive the banned ads were. Because there are still Tory ads visible that claim to send users to “Corbyn’s Labour manifesto”, but actually go to “” – a fake Tory-run site.

Even the BBC recently criticised the Conservatives for editing video ads to suggest that BBC presenters endorse the party’s attacks on Labour. The broadcaster said the ads “could damage perceptions of our impartiality”. The thing is, viewers have caught the BBC itself doctoring broadcasted footage on numerous occasions in a way that favours the Conservative Party this election.

Big Tech politics

It’s welcome that Google has acted against what is likely outright fake news from the Tory party. But we must question whether profit-minded big tech companies should really be regulating our political sphere. Another solution could be regulation through parliament while ensuring we uphold free speech.

At present, the UK elections watchdog – the Electoral Commission – has not condemned the Conservative Party’s disinformation this election. When the Tory Press Twitter account pretended to be an independent fact-checker, the Electoral Commission didn’t single out the ruling party, instead saying “voters are entitled to transparency and integrity from campaigners in the lead-up to an election”. The Electoral Commission also said that it doesn’t have a role in “regulating election campaign content”, but the watchdog is asking for greater powers to ensure ads are transparent.

‌Another problem is that fake news can do a lot of damage before a regulator takes it down. That suggests we also need appropriate regulation and punishment to stop people and parties creating fake news in the first place.

Careful action

We must treat any internet regulation with extreme caution because the risks of inadvertently shutting down legitimate speech remain. But Britain surely cannot allow the levels of fake news coming from the Tory party this election. Given the Electoral Commission doesn’t currently have the powers it needs, at least Google has stepped in for now.”

“Tory candidates issued with attack manuals on how to smear rivals”

Taking their lead from the Trump playbook – tell the biggest porkies and the masses will fall for them.

What a dirty, dirty election this is.

“Conservative candidates in the general election have been issued with a detailed dossier on how to attack Labour and Liberal Democrat rivals which contains numerous rehashed and potentially misleading claims, the Guardian can reveal.

The documents accuse the Liberal Democrats of pushing “pro-pimp” policies and sex work as a career for schoolchildren.

They also reheat a discredited claim that Labour’s policy on free movement would lead to 840,000 migrants coming to the UK each year.

Drafted by the Conservative research department, the documents are designed to provide candidates with approved messages to use on doorsteps across the country.

One 17-page briefing note is specifically for Tories in seats where the main challenge comes from Labour. Another 19-page document is for candidates fighting a Liberal Democrat threat.

Many of the statements within them are sourced from comments made several years ago, or by local party members, and do not accurately reflect the current positions of opposition parties.

Some draw on pledges made in the run-up to the 2015 election, or take statements out of context. …”

Now Lib Dems publish “fake” newspaper

A vote for anyone other than Claire Wright (Independent) is a vote for Tories.

Hot on the heels of East Devon Tories:

National Lib Dems try same (dirty) trick

“Boris Johnson’s pledge to recruit 50,000 new nurses is based on lies and is an insult to the NHS”

“Boris Johnson has promised an extra 50,000 NHS nurses by 2025. Part of the package is a return to providing bursaries for nursing students, to support them while they gain vital professional qualifications. This might seem like a welcome proposal, until you realise the entire policy is built on sand, propped up with deception and lies, and amounts to an insult to the brilliant and hardworking staff of the NHS.

Bursaries were axed at the insistence of the Tories in 2016, despite clear warnings from health unions, professional associations, and nurses themselves that this would be detrimental to the recruitment and retention of nurses.

Figures released by UCAS show that the number of people applying to study nursing in England has fallen by more than 13,000 since the bursary was scrapped. The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) points out that the numbers of mature students applying has also fallen by 41%. They say there are about 40,000 nursing vacancies in England. The prime minister’s pledge to reinstate the bursary is welcome, but merely rights a wrong, and does nothing to plug a three-year gap in recruitment.

Then there is the prime minister’s flagship Brexit plan. The uncertainty and threat of economic chaos has already meant the NHS has lost 5,000 nurses from other EU nations. There has been a huge fall in the numbers of nurses from other EU countries coming to the UK to work for the NHS. This is hardly a surprise given the toxic political culture and sense that they are unwelcome.”

“BBC acknowledges ‘mistake’ in Boris Johnson editing”

Fascinating that this article comes under the BBC’s “arts and entertainment” heading and NOT politics!

The BBC has said editing footage of Prime Minister Boris Johnson for a news bulletin was “a mistake on our part”.

The Prime Minister appeared on Question Time: Leaders Special on BBC One on Friday evening.

The audience laughed when he was asked a question about how important it is for people in power to tell the truth.

But the laughter and subsequent applause was absent from a cut-down version of the exchange on a lunchtime news bulletin the following day.

“This clip from the BBC’s Question Time special, which was played out in full on the News at Ten on Friday evening and on other outlets, was shortened for timing reasons on Saturday’s lunchtime bulletin, to edit out a repetitious phrase from Boris Johnson,” the BBC said in a statement.

“However, in doing so we also edited out laughter from the audience. Although there was absolutely no intention to mislead, we accept this was a mistake on our part, as it didn’t reflect the full reaction to Boris Johnson’s answer.

“We did not alter the soundtrack or image in any way apart from this edit, contrary to some claims on social media.”

On the original programme, an audience member asked the prime minister: “How important is it for someone in your position of power to always tell the truth?”

There was laughter and applause from the audience as Mr Johnson answered: “I think it’s absolutely vital.”

Mr Johnson then repeated the sentence once the laughter and applause had died down.

The second version was the one used in the BBC’s News at One bulletin on Saturday.

The BBC originally explained that the Saturday edit was “shortened for time reasons” in reply to a tweet later the same day, although did not acknowledge it was a mistake at that point.

The BBC’s statement follows an error on BBC Breakfast last month when out-of-date footage of Mr Johnson laying a wreath was broadcast due to “a production mistake”.

Founder of World Wide Web attacks Tory dirty tricks – don’t trust people who impersonate he says

“The inventor of the World Wide Web has accused the Conservatives of spreading misinformation during the general election campaign.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee described the renaming of a Tory Twitter account as a fact checking body as “impersonation”.
“That was really brazen,” he told the BBC. “It was unbelievable they would do that.”

During a live TV leaders’ debate on Tuesday the Tory press office account @CCHQ was rebranded “factcheckuk”.

The renaming remained for the duration of the hour-long debate between Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn. The Conservatives have said “no one will have been fooled” by the move.

But Sir Tim said the renaming “was impersonation. Don’t do that. Don’t trust people who do that.”

He went on to compare what happened with someone impersonating a friend for the purpose of defrauding them. “What the Conservative Party has done is obviously a no no. That’s amazingly blatant,” Sir Tim said. …”


“The Conservative Party has bought a website called “” and are using it to attack the opponent party on the day of their manifesto launch.

The website, which some commentators suggest may appear to be an official Labour Party domain, has appeared at the top of some people’s Google search results as a paid advertisement. …”