Subtitles that quoted Boris Johnson as saying he wanted democratic control over the migration of “people of colour” have prompted confusion.
Footage of the prime minister speaking on the campaign trail was posted on Twitter by Channel 4.
Subtitles attached to the video quoted him as saying: “I am in favour of having people of colour come to this country but I think we should have it democratically controlled.”
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While Downing Street has yet to comment to on the matter, audio from the clip makes clear he actually refers to “people of talent”.
Channel 4 has since deleted the video and issued an apology.
“Boris Johnson says ‘people of talent’ not ‘people of colour’,” the broadcaster tweeted. ”Our earlier tweet was a mistake. We misheard and we apologise.”
A senior Tory source told The Independent: “This shows why it has been impossible to cooperate with Channel 4 News, they are campaigners in this election – inventing the most damaging things possible to further their campaign against Brexit.
‘This sort of thing is why so many media organisations have collapsing audiences. We sadly do not expect the senior management at Channel 4 to take this terrible mistake seriously and we expect more of the same.”
Jake Berry, the Northern Powerhouse minister, accused Channel 4 of an “outrageous smear” against the prime minister.
The correction, however, appeared to have evaded Labour’s shadow trade secretary Barry Gardiner, who later claimed the clip was an “extraordinary slip of the Johnson mask”.