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Conservative Party criticised over 'misleading' re-brand of Twitter account to bogus factcheck page

The fake account ‘proved’ and ‘debunked’ several claims during the debate.

2.48448759 Johnson and Corbyn face off during this evening's debate Source: ITV

FACTCHECKING OUTLETS IN the UK have criticised the Conservative Party after its press office re-branded its official Twitter account to a factchecking channel for the first UK election debate this evening.

Independent factchecking charity Full Fact described the re-brand of the @CCHQPress Twitter account to a page called ‘factcheckUK’ as “inappropriate and misleading”.

The account ‘proved’ and ‘debunked’ several claims during the hour-long debate between Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn this evening, including claims about the NHS, jobs, Brexit, wages, Scottish independence and climate action.

Each ‘proven’ and ‘debunked’ claim painted Johnson and the Conservative Party in a positive light over the course of an hour, while the account also posted a tweet after the debate which declared Johnson the winner.

It subsequently reverted to its original brand following the debate’s conclusion.

FactcheckUK A screengrab of the @CCHQPress rebrand during the debate

A number of factchecking outlets criticised the re-brand while the debate was ongoing.

“It is inappropriate and misleading for the Conservative press office to rename their twitter account ‘factcheckUK’ during this debate,” Full Fact tweeted, guiding social media users to a number of independent factchecking services.

Channel 4 News editor Ben de Pear also took aim at the party, urging Johnson to appear on a news programme to be factchecked by legitimate journalists.

“No political party should be trying to cloak themselves in the guise of independent journalists,” he said.

During the debate, Johnson and Corbyn clashed over their rival plans for Brexit and the NHS.

The Labour leader dismissed the Prime Minister’s pledge to “get Brexit done” by the end of January as “nonsense” while Johnson suggested his rival was “not fit to lead our country”.

Following the debate, a snap poll by YouGov of 1,646 viewers suggested a virtual tie, with 51% saying they thought Johnson had won as against 49% who thought Corbyn came out on top.

With reporting from Press Association.

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