The Guardian: FO deletes tweet “Porton Down confirmed Novichok produced in Russia”- Now they cover Boris’ lies? (video)
British MP Angela Rayner: What a complete mess this is, Boris Johnson and the Foreign Office have some very serious questions to answer, dismissive waving of hands and the usual bluff bluster will not do, this is an extremely serious situation…
Foreign Office deletes tweet saying Porton Down confirmed Novichok produced in Russia- Now they cover up Boris’ lies
Foreign Office deletes tweet saying Porton Down confirmed Salisbury novichok produced in Russia
This morning the Russian embassy in London highlighted a Foreign Office tweet from last month saying Porton Down found that the novichok used in the Salisbury attack was definitely “produced in Russia”.
The tweet has now been deleted. This is from ITV’s Paul Brand.
Foreign Office rejects claims Johnson’s Porton Down claims were misleading
As HuffPost’s Paul Waugh reports, the Foreign Office has put out a statement dismissing claims that what Boris Johnson said about Porton Down confirming Russia’s responsibility for the Salisbury attack (see 11.23am) was misleading. A Foreign Office spokesman said:
The foreign secretary was making clear that Porton Down were sure it was a novichok – a point they have reinforced.
He goes on in the same interview to make clear why based on that information, additional intelligence and the lack of alternative explanation from the Russians, we have reached the conclusion we have.
What the foreign secretary said then, and what Porton Down have said recently, is fully consistent with what we have said throughout. It is Russia that is putting forward multiple versions of events and obfuscating the truth.
Boris Johnson ‘misled the public’ over Porton Down novichok evidence, says Labour
Diane Abbott, the shadow home secretary, has now explicitly accused Boris Johnson of misleading the public about the Porton Down novichok evidence. She implied as much in her Today interview (see 11.23am), but she has now firmed up her language in a press release. She said:
It seems Boris Johnson misled the public when he claimed that Porton Down officials confirmed to him that Russia was the source of the nerve agent used in the Salisbury attack.
Those officials have made it clear they cannot identify its source, and are not able to definitively say it came from Russia or elsewhere.
Boris Johnson is supposed to represent Britain on the world stage, but time and again he has shown he is unable to do so responsibly…
Corbyn says Boris Johnson has ‘egg on his face’ because his Porton Down claims weren’t backed up by evidence
Jeremy Corbyn has now recorded a clip for broadcasters about Boris Johnson’s Porton Down claims. He said Johnson had “egg on his face” because his claims were not backed up by evidence. He told Sky News:
Boris Johnson has serious questions to answer. He claimed on German television that this was a Russian-produced nerve agent and Porton Down then examined it and said all they could identify it was as novichok. They couldn’t say where it came from, and the chemical weapons organisation is meeting to continue that discussion about where it goes from here. The Foreign Office then issued a tweet in support of what the foreign secretary said, and then removed that yesterday after Porton Down had said they couldn’t identify the source of it.
So Boris Johnson seems to have completely exceeded the information that he had been given and told the world in categorical terms what he believed had happened. And it’s not backed up by the evidence he claimed to have got from Porton Down in the first place. Boris Johnson needs to answer some questions …
Where does that leave the foreign secretary? Egg on his face for the statement he made on German television…