Tories launch furious attack on Channel 4 in Boris Johnson 'people of colour' row

Posted On: 
6th December 2019

Channel 4 has been forced to apologise wrongly accusing Boris Johnson of saying he wanted to control the amount of "people of colour" entering the UK after Brexit.

Boris Johnson made the comment while speaking at a factory in Derbyshire on Thursday.
Credit: 
PA Images

The Prime Minister was alleged to have made the remark at a Tory campaign rally in Derbyshire on Thursday.

Channel 4 News posted the footage on Twitter and the subtitles on the clip said: "I'm in favour of having people of colour come to this country but I think we should have it democratically controlled."

However, Mr Johnson actually referred to "people of talent".

The clip was deleted, and the broadcaster tweeted: "Our earlier tweet was a mistake. We misheard and we apologise."

Fatima Manji, a correspondent for Channel 4 News, said the error happened when the clip was played on a phone and misheard.

She tweeted: “I have heard that clip of Boris Johnson played in the edit suite just now. He says talent. 

“It sounded like colour when played on the phone to multiple people this morning.”

A senior Tory source said: "This shows why it has been impossible to co-operate 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."

The row followed last week's spat over Mr Johnson's decision not to take part in the Channel 4 debate on climate change.

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He was replaced on stage with a block of ice after the broadcaster refused to Tory offer of putting Michael Gove up instead.

That led to a senior Tory source suggesting that Channel 4’s broadcasting licence could be reviewed if Mr Johnson is re-elected.

However, broadcasting watchdog Ofcom later dismissed Conservative claims that Channel 4 had breached impartiality rules with the stunt.