Chris Grayling accuses Momentum and Labour of being 'biggest purveyors of fake news'
Chris Grayling has urged Tory supporters to take on what he claims is “fake news” spread by Labour and campaign group Momentum.
The Transport Secretary accused the opposition of peddling false claims about the Conservatives’ position on issues such as housing and animal sentience.
Mr Grayling's accusation was met with derision by Labour, who suggested the minister should concentrate on his "catastrophic" handling of the East Coast rail franchise.
His remarks are the latest salvo in an attempt from senior Tories to fight back in the online battle with Labour.
Party chairman Brandon Lewis recently announced a revamp of the party’s digital operation, including giving activists a ‘toolkit’ of graphics, GIFs and videos to promote government policies.
Writing on the ConservativeHome website, Mr Grayling accused Labour of deliberately misleading the public.
“All too often people don’t look. They take what they read as gospel. And it’s a big challenge for us, because the biggest purveyors of fake news in Britain today are Momentum and the Labour party.
“Time after time they push messages about us which are completely false, or which completely distort the truth.”
He has also recently hit out at the leftwing thinktank the IPPR over what he called a "truly misleading report" on transport funding for the north of England.
“We’re going to see much more of this fake-news approach to politics from Labour over the coming months and years," Mr Grayling said.
“They will portray us as uncaring and unthinking, and will use false examples to make their case. Labour supporting think tanks will continue to pump out intentionally inaccurate information about the Government’s record.
“Hardly a day goes by without a Conservative MP reporting another outbreak of complete fiction from the left.”
A Labour source issued a withering assessment of Mr Grayling’s claims, telling PoliticsHome: “ROFL [rolling on the floor laughing]. He should worry more about the real news in his day job – the catastrophic failure of privatisation on the East Coast mainline.”
Mr Grayling has himself been called up for making unsubstantiated remarks about the effect of strike action on the railways.
He repeatedly claimed last year that strikes had been the “prime cause of disruption” for passengers on Southern rail.
However a Channel 4 Fact Check investigation found that his claim was “not based on any statistical evidence”.
Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson was also accused of spreading fake news with a tweet about the SNP allegedly stopping the flying of the Union Jack on the Queen's birthday.