Steerpike

Nicola Sturgeon and Newsnight presenter’s Tory tweet fake news

Nicola Sturgeon and Newsnight presenter's Tory tweet fake news
Nicola Sturgeon and Lewis Goodall (Photo: Getty)
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Nicola Sturgeon was able to indulge in a small spot of schadenfreude today, as A level results were announced in England, and UK ministers were criticised for the downgrading of some students’ results.

The Scottish first minister has had a hellish week defending her own disastrous handling of exam results north of the border, which culminated on Tuesday with the SNP U-turning on its decision to downgrade thousands of students’ exam results – a decision which has been widely criticised by Scottish Conservatives.

So when Sturgeon appeared to spot Tory ministers frantically deleting their tweets criticising the SNP’s handling of the crisis, the first minister couldn’t resist a quick jibe at the opposition’s alleged hypocrisy this afternoon:

Unfortunately though, it appears that Tory MPs weren’t deleting their tweets after all. The claim they were was made by BBC Newsnight journalist Lewis Goodall, who is starting to develop a reputation for tweeting first, thinking later.

Goodall had screenshotted an account that highlights deleted social media posts by MPs. But if he’d bothered to look more closely, he would have noticed that only one tweet was in fact deleted, which was written by the Scottish Conservatives (the MPs had only retweeted the account). Ironically, Goodall has now deleted his inaccurate tweet, and explained that the Scottish Conservatives were behind the posts, arguing that this: 'you might still say, tells its own tale.' This was backed by Nicola Sturgeon herself, who noted that 'The reality is even more telling.'

It appears though that both Sturgeon and Goodall are barking up the wrong tree once again.  

The Scottish Conservative missive that was deleted can actually be viewed here:

Readers may be able to spot that the tweet in question was probably removed because it used the word ‘effected’ rather than ‘affected’. That may be a bit embarrassing when commenting on the education system, but it is hardly an admission that the Tories had been too harsh on Sturgeon. In fact, if either Goodall or Sturgeon had bothered to look at the Scottish Tory social media account today, they would have noticed that its criticisms of the Scottish education fiasco this afternoon have not abated.

Meanwhile, it's probably for the best that Nicola Sturgeon amplified this fake news ‘without comment’. The only thing the tweet appears to have highlighted is her own disregard for diligence and accuracy…

Written bySteerpike

Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to steerpike@spectator.co.uk.

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