Cabinet Office is forced to apologise to Julia Hartley-Brewer after government documents unlawfully described the TalkTV presenter as a 'known vaccine sceptic'

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  • The Cabinet Office has admitted nan study was shared pinch 64 British officials

By Kumail Jaffer Political Correspondent

Published: 17:33 EDT, 26 October 2023 | Updated: 03:16 EDT, 27 October 2023

Government documents unlawfully described Julia Hartley-Brewer arsenic a 'known vaccine sceptic', officials person admitted.

The Cabinet Office was forced to apologise to nan TalkTV presenter aft it emerged 1 of her societal media posts had been included successful a study connected 'vaccine hesitancy'.

Ms Hartley-Brewer had commented 'No. No. No. NO!!!' connected an article astir nan Health Secretary and Education Secretary's associated missive to parents encouraging them to vaccinate their children.

Although she had publically spoken astir taking nan vaccine herself, and regularly said of its benefits connected her show, her sanction was included successful a dossier compiled by Whitehall's 'Rapid Response Unit' (RRU).

Last nighttime Ms Hartley-Brewer said: 'I americium shocked that nan British government spent clip during a pandemic monitoring, attempting to censor and smearing a journalist who was simply trying to do her occupation by asking nan correct questions and challenging nan prevailing orthodoxy. 

Although she had publically spoken astir taking nan vaccine herself, and regularly said of its benefits, Ms Hartley-Brewer's sanction was included successful nan dossier

'I was not a "known vaccine sceptic", arsenic my on-air and online comments intelligibly prove.

'A authorities portion that was expected to situation overseas governments disseminating lies online was utilized against British journalists and MPs expressing reasonable concerns astir Covid policies. And now we person impervious that this aforesaid portion was really responsible for lying astir me.

'I americium peculiarly concerned by nan truth that nan British authorities shared this mendacious accusation astir maine pinch a US authorities counter-terrorism portion group up to tackle Russian, Chinese and Iranian propaganda. This is very sinister.'

The Cabinet Office has admitted nan study was shared pinch 64 British officials arsenic good arsenic counter-officials successful nan US. 

Further transparency requests revealed Ms Hartley-Brewer's guidance to vaccine passports had been logged and shared by authorities units.

In a written apology to nan presenter, officials admitted nan reference to her arsenic a vaccine sceptic was 'inaccurate and not impartial'.

The correction was discovered by civilian liberties group Big Brother Watch during a probe into nan government's counter-disinformation activities, peculiarly those of nan arguable RRU.

The RRU was formed successful 2020 to ace down connected 'false and misleading narratives' astir coronavirus and disbanded 2 years later.

The Cabinet Office has admitted nan study was shared pinch 64 British officials arsenic good arsenic counter-officials successful nan US

The RRU was formed successful 2020 to ace down connected 'false and misleading narratives' astir coronavirus and disbanded 2 years later (File Photo)

Director of Big Brother Watch, Silkie Carlo, said: 'It is outrageous that UK authorities 'counter disinformation' unit monitored British journalists and dispersed harmful misinformation astir them crossed nan corridors of power, not only successful nan UK but moreover pinch counter-terror officials successful nan US.

'It's absurd that taxpayers are backing this multi-million lb counter-dissent task nether nan guise of 'countering disinformation', but besides highly chilling that truthful galore journalists, politicians and mean citizens person been treated for illustration nan force wrong simply for criticising arguable authorities policies.

'The government's secretive Counter Disinformation Unit should beryllium suspended immediately, and parliament should unfastened an enquiry into its profoundly disturbing activities.'

A Cabinet Office spokesperson said: 'This matter is taxable to ongoing ineligible correspondence and nan Cabinet Office cannot remark immoderate further astatine this time.'

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