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Leading fact checkers step in as edited CyclingMikey video posted by viral Facebook page falsely claims Rishi Sunak's wife was caught using Instagram while driving

The video was initially uploaded to YouTube by the road safety campaigner in 2021, the driver who is not Akshata Murty disqualified for six months after receiving six penalty points for her phone use

Fact-checking website Full Fact has rubbished claims made in a viral video on Facebook that CyclingMikey caught Akshata Murty, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's wife, using Instagram on her phone while driving.

The bizarre episode relates to a video by the road safety campaigner — real name Michael van Erp — who reports law-breaking drivers using their mobile phones, and was initially uploaded to YouTube in July 2021, showing a female driver using Instagram while driving through London's Hyde Park. 

CyclingMikey made no reference to the woman being Akshata Murty and told viewers at the time that the woman pleaded guilty and had been disqualified from driving for six months having been given six penalty points, a £192 fine, and been ordered to pay costs of £110, and a £34 victim surcharge.

However, nearly three years on the footage has re-emerged in a viral Facebook post that has been edited to falsely claim the woman is, in fact, Ms Murty.

Edited CyclingMikey video

The Facebook page, which has in the last 24 hours also shared videos featuring Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, posted the edited footage last week, with it going viral and being shared, liked and commented on thousands of times.

"Bloody rules for the masses. Whilst the elite do as they like," one popular comment said. Another added: "She don't care about nothing just like her husband."

Facebook has since inserted a message saying the video contains false information, that coming after leading UK fact-checking website Full Fact confirmed the claims it shows Sunak's wife are "false".

The need for an official fact-checking came as something of a surprise to CyclingMikey who, when informed of the episode by on Sunday afternoon, said "the driver in the video looks nothing like her" and it "seems a bit racist of the person who ripped and edited that video".

He has since commented on the post saying he will be reporting it for copyright and asked why they have "ripped the video, and why did you make up the story it was Rishi's wife?"

Full Fact wrote on its website:

A video being shared online claims to show a cyclist catching Akshata Murty, Rishi Sunak's wife, using Instagram while driving. But the woman in the video is not Ms Murty. 

It is clear from photos of Ms Murty that she is not the woman driving in the video. There have been no reports of Ms Murty committing any such driving offence. 

The clip comes from a longer video that was shared on YouTube in July 2021, without the overlaid text claiming it shows "Rishi Sunak's wife", and shows the woman apparently using Instagram behind the wheel. The video was shared by an account that often uploads footage from a helmet camera showing people using their phones at the wheel.

Dan is the news editor and has spent the past four years writing stories and features, as well as (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. Having previously written about nearly every other sport under the sun for the Express, and the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for the Non-League Paper, Dan joined in 2020. Come the weekend you'll find him labouring up a hill, probably with a mouth full of jelly babies, or making a bonk-induced trip to a south of England petrol station... in search of more jelly babies.

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hawkinspeter | 5 months ago

I don't understand how otherwise intelligent people insist on continuing to use FaceBook after its malignant behaviour became apparent:

It seems to me that if you continue to use FaceBook, then you are asking to be manipulated for anti-democratic purposes. There's no good outcomes - only hate, lies and libel.

There's a handy list of FaceBook scandals here, including inciting genocide!

don simon fbpe | 5 months ago

Social media, the sauce of truth and honesty...

Boopop replied to don simon fbpe | 5 months ago

Social media sauce...makes every dish taste worse and fills you with hate. I'll pass!

RoubaixCube | 5 months ago

If I am correct.

Technically speaking whoever ripped and posted the edited video to their account claiming that lady was Rishi's wife are liable to face defamation claims if Ms Murty decides to take things further.

mattw replied to RoubaixCube | 5 months ago

She can afford the lawyers, and unlike Mr Chump is reputable enough to be expected to pay them !

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