Boris Johnson has been accused of plagiarism after writing a thread of tweets about “inaccuracies” in reports about the London Bridge attacker.The Secret Barrister, a blogger and author, claims their post on Usman Khan’s sentencing was lifted and used by Mr Johnson in a 16-strong series of tweets which began: “The terrible Khan case has highlighted a complicated area of law. There have been many inaccuracies reported about this case over the last 24 hours.”
It went on to say there had been a confusion across four types of sentencing regimes, and explained that Khan was sentenced under “Labour’s old regime” and couldn’t be given a sentence which would have prevented automatic release.
:: Listen to Campaign Unwrapped on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, SpreakerIn response, the Secret Barrister tweeted: “The Prime Minister has basically copied and pasted my blogpost into a thread and passed it off as his own explanation.
“A blogpost which I had to write to rebut the lies he spent yesterday spouting. This is weapons grade s***housery.”
The barrister pointed out that one of Mr Johnson’s tweets linked to the same Prison Reform Trust document that they had listed in the blog, and says the prime minister “repeats my observation about the misreporting of Leveson LJ’s comments about the involvement of the Parole Board”.
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The blog post was first published on 30 November, with Mr Johnson’s tweets about the man who was behind the London Bridge terror attack coming the day after.The post went through Khan’s sentencing and release in 11 steps and added some analysis of what the government is proposing to do, saying: “To listen to the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, plenty. To read his manifesto, nothing.”In an update after an op-ed written by Mr Johnson, the Secret Barrister said “untruths” were being repeated. The barrister criticised Home Secretary Priti Patel and Brandon Lewis for saying Khan’s sentence was so given because of a Labour law.
After today’s fun and games, I’ve been reflecting on this. One should always be alert to confirmation bias, and the possibility that the PM’s own legal advisors drafted his thread without any regard to my witterings has to be carefully considered.But I just can’t see it [1/6] https://t.co/ZYJFJRf0KZ— The Secret Barrister (@BarristerSecret) December 1, 2019
The blog adds: “The courts had several options to deal with “dangerous terrorists” that would have avoided automatic release. The reason for Khan’s sentence was that the Court of Appeal ruled (to be proved tragically wrong) that Khan’s risk did not require the input of the Parole Board that an IPP would have guaranteed.”One of the first people to apparently notice what happened was Gary Neville, who retweeted the PM and added: “You definitely didn’t write this tweet!”The Secret Barrister also went on to admit there could have been a coincidence, but they “couldn’t see” how such a similar set of tweets could emerge so soon after their blog post.A spokesman for the Conservative Party said: “These claims are completely untrue.”
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