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Leaked documents used by Jeremy Corbyn WERE leaked by Russia, Reddit reveals

A top-secret government dossier brandished by Jeremy Corbyn as proof Boris Johnson plans to sell off the NHS was leaked on Reddit by Russia, the social media platform said last night.

Reddit said it has banned 61 accounts following an investigation into disinformation which could have been spread to manipulate the election. 

The bombshell revelations are an embarrassment for the Labour leader who continues to use the dossier as ammunition to blast his Conservative rival.

Russia’s hand in the release of the dossier was already suspected after analyst Graphika this week drew parallels with the leak and the Moscow disinformation campaign dubbed ‘Secondary Infektion’ on Facebook.

But Mr Corbyn has chosen to ignore these warnings and again last night accused the Prime Minister of putting the NHS on the table in a post-Brexit trade deal. Mr Johnson rubbished his rival’s claim as a ‘Bermuda Triangle’.

The Labour leader’s flat refusal to stop parading the documents despite them being tarred by Moscow’s fingerprints will further call into question his moral compass, which is already under scrutiny due to the party’s raging anti-Semitism crisis and his personal sympathies with the IRA.

During his final TV showdown with the PM las night, he flourished a second leaked government document, this one relating to the post-Brexit border arrangements on the island of Ireland.

Mr Corbyn first flaunted the leaked Department for International Trade papers between UK and US officials at a press conference last month to underscore his claim the NHS would be on the table in a post-Brexit deal. 

Yet they had been floating around on Reddit since October when they were uploaded by a user called ‘gregoratior’ – who is among the 61 accounts now blacklisted.  

In a statement, Reddit said its investigation had found a ‘pattern of coordination’ between the now-banned accounts on its site and a Russian campaign uncovered by Facebook earlier this year.

At a press conference in Westminster last week, Jeremy Corbyn brandishes a government dossier which he claims provides 'proof' the Tories are trying to sell the NHS to the US

 At a press conference in Westminster last week, Jeremy Corbyn brandishes a government dossier which he claims provides ‘proof’ the Tories are trying to sell the NHS to the US

Reddit said it had banned 61 accounts following an investigation of suspect activity, including Wilbur Gregoratior who posed the documents and bombarded senior Labour figures with links to the site

Reddit said it had banned 61 accounts following an investigation of suspect activity, including Wilbur Gregoratior who posed the documents and bombarded senior Labour figures with links to the site

During a bruising hour-long debate tonight, Boris Johnson appealed for the public to back him on Brexit on December 12 - condemning Jeremy Corbyn for a 'failure of leadership'

During a bruising hour-long debate tonight, Boris Johnson appealed for the public to back him on Brexit on December 12 – condemning Jeremy Corbyn for a ‘failure of leadership’

Information from the investigation into the ‘Secondary Infektion’ campaign on Facebook was used to identify suspect accounts on Reddit.

Reddit said: ‘This group provides us with important attribution for the recent posting of the leaked UK documents, as well as insights into how adversaries are adapting their tactics.

‘As a result of this investigation, we are banning… 61 accounts under our policies against vote manipulation and misuse of the platform. ‘

Speaking at a news conference last month, Mr Corbyn said the 451 pages left Boris Johnson’s claim the the NHS wouldn’t be part of trade talks ‘in absolute tatters’.

There is currently no suggestions the documents were false or doctored in any way.

Reddit said the leaked files had first been posted in October and then reposted by a second account.

Pockets of accounts had worked together to ‘upvote’ the posts using vote manipulation to make them more visible to users of the platform, it added.

These accounts had posted in different regional subreddits and in several different languages.

Reddit said: ‘As we have done with previous influence operations, we will also preserve these accounts for a time, so that researchers and the public can scrutinize them to see for themselves how these accounts operated.’

Labour again refused to discuss the source for the documents.

Mr Corbyn poses with NHS workers holding documents regarding the Conservative government's UK-US trade talks

Mr Corbyn poses with NHS workers holding documents regarding the Conservative government’s UK-US trade talks

The PM and the Labour leader faced off in the final head-to-head of the campaign, in front of a primetime Friday night audience on BBC One and chaired by Nick Robinson (right)

The PM and the Labour leader faced off in the final head-to-head of the campaign, in front of a primetime Friday night audience on BBC One and chaired by Nick Robinson (right)

It was chaired by former BBC political editor Nick Robinson

A snap YouGov poll found the PM performed better in the primetime BBC One clash by 52 per cent to 48 per cent

A snap YouGov poll found the PM performed better in the primetime BBC One clash by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – mirroring the 2016 referendum. It was chaired by former BBC political editor Nick Robinson 

A Labour spokesman said: ‘These documents reveal the plot against our NHS. And of course neither the UK nor the US government have denied their authenticity. 

‘Our releasing them to journalists was clearly in the public interest.’

Mr Corbyn relentlessly uses the documents as ammunition to fire at his Conservative opponent, who was forced yet again to rubbish the claim at last night’s TV debate.

On the accusations that he wants to sell the NHS, Mr Johnson said: ‘This is pure Bermuda Triangle stuff. 

‘We’ve heard it time and time again from the Labour Party during this election campaign.’ 

Mr Johnson said: ‘We’ll be hearing about ”little green men” next …  under no circumstances will we sell it off to anybody in any kind of trade deal.’ 

The leaders’ debate: Key quotes as Johnson and Corbyn clash for the final time before the election

Boris Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn clashed on issues ranging from Brexit to the NHS: 

Brexit

Mr Johnson attacked the Labour leader over a rival Brexit deal, saying: ‘Who is going to negotiate it (a? Because as far as I can see everyone on the Labour front bench … is campaigning for Remain apart from Mr Corbyn who is neutral on the matter. How can you get a new deal from Brussels if you don’t really believe in it?’

The Labour leader said Mr Johnson wants a trade deal with the US which would take ‘seven years’ to negotiate.

He added: ‘He knows he can’t get a deal quickly with the USA because of the way in which the US political system works.

‘And so what he will do is walk out of a relationship with the EU into a relationship with nobody.’

The future of the NHS

On the accusations that he wants to sell the NHS, Mr Johnson said: ‘This is pure Bermuda Triangle stuff. We’ve heard it time and time again from the Labour Party during this election campaign. Mr Johnson said: ‘We’ll be hearing about ”little green men” next …  under no circumstances will we sell it off to anybody in any kind of trade deal.’  

The Labour leader said: ‘The Prime Minister, the day after he was appointed, announced there was going to be 40 new hospitals, a week later that became 20, a bit later on it became six new hospitals. He seems to have a problem with the figures about hospital building in Britain.’

Capitalism v socialism 

They were asked which political system helped poor people the most. Mr Corbyn said: ‘Socialism carried out in a democratic way in this country and Scandinavia and other places has raised the living standards of the very poorest. And it was the post war Labour government that did massively to improve the living standards of the poorest working class communities in this country. This Labour government will do the same again.’

To which Mr Johnson replied: ‘And I would say it is one-nation conservatism, which understands the vital importance of a dynamic market economy as the only way in which you can pay for fantastic public services and for looking after the poorest and neediest in our society. That is the balance and symmetry at the heart of what I’m trying to achieve with this Government. To attack capitalism as Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell do is absolutely senseless.’

Does Labour want to destroy capitalism? 

Asked if he thought Mr Corbyn ‘wanted to destroy capitalism’, the PM said: ‘John McDonnell, who is the shadow chancellor, and some would say the intellectual driving force this type of plio-socialism, is committed, he says, to fermenting the overthrow of capitalism. I think that is a mistake. ‘I don’t think that is the right way forward for our country.’

Mr Corbyn replied: ‘My kind of socialism is one where you don’t leave people behind, you don’t ignore the fact that four million of our children are living in poverty, you don’t ignore the fact that you have thousands of people sleeping on the streets of this country – the fifth richest country in the world. The inequality has got worse.’

Lack of support from past leaders of their parties

Both men were asked about Sir John Major and  Tony Blair lining up together to urge voters not to back either main party. Mr Johnson said Sir John was ‘wrong’ and Mr Corbyn added: ‘Tony Blair and John Major are welcome to make the comments they do. I urge them to look at the reality of what nine years of austerity has done.’

The Labour leader said: ‘The Prime Minister, the day after he was appointed, announced there was going to be 40 new hospitals, a week later that became 20, a bit later on it became six new hospitals. 

‘He seems to have a problem with the figures about hospital building in Britain.’ 

Mr Johnson was last night declared the winner of the final election TV showdown after roasting Jeremy Corbyn over Brexit, supporting the IRA, stealth taxes and ‘overthrowing capitalism’.

A snap YouGov poll found the PM performed better in the primetime BBC One clash by 52 per cent to 48 per cent – ironically mirroring the 2016 referendum and a result that will delight Tory strategists.

During a bruising hour-long session, chaired by Nick Robinson, Mr Johnson appealed for the public to back him on Brexit on December 12 so the country can move on. 

He ridiculed Labour’s muddled position of renegotiating with Brussels and holding another referendum, but with Mr Corbyn staying neutral. ‘You cannot negotiate a deal if you are neutral on it… it’s a failure of leadership on the biggest issue facing this country at the moment,’ he said.

The veteran left-winger was also pressed over Labour’s plans to introduce a four-day week in the NHS, and failed to deny that he wants to ‘overthrow capitalism’.

But he insisted he was putting forward an ‘ambitious’ programme that could end child poverty, as he desperately to turn the tide as polls continue to show the Tories ahead. 

The clash quickly turned nasty, with Mr Johnson getting a round of applause as he condemned Mr Corbyn for trying to ‘lecture’ people on the importance of ties with Northern Ireland after ‘supporting the IRA for four decades’. 

He also repeatedly swiped that his opponent was ‘ignorant’ on the benefits of free trade. 

According to the YouGov poll, Mr Corbyn came across as more trustworthy by 48 per cent to 38 per cent, and also won on the NHS. 

But Mr Johnson trounced him by 62 per cent to 29 per cent on Brexit, 55 per cent to 36 per cent on likeability, and was seen as more prime ministerial by 54 per cent to 30 per cent. 

He was also seen as performing best on security 55 per cent to 34 per cent. 

Labour will be dismayed that Mr Corbyn failed to land any significant punches, with the Tories seemingly in the driving seat just six days before the country goes to the ballot boxes. 

Ipsos MORI research earlier found Labour has been making up some ground over the past three weeks, with its support increasing four points. But the Conservatives still have a 12-point lead, enough for a comfortable majority. 

During the debate, Mr Corbyn highlighted leaked Treasury documents released earlier in the day which he said showed Mr Johnson’s withdrawal agreement meant there would be customs checks and restrictions on trade between Britain and Northern Ireland.

But the PM retorted tonight that the claims were ‘not true’. And in a brutal put-down, he pointed to Mr Corbyn’s long history of supporting republicanism – which included inviting convicted IRA members to Parliament weeks after the Brighton Bombing.

‘I do find it slightly curious to say the least to be lectured about the union between Great Britain and Northern Ireland by a man who all his political life has campaigned to break up that union, and actually supported for four decades the IRA in their campaign violently to destroy it,’ Mr Johnson said.

As the pair traded blows on Brexit, Mr Johnson took aim at Labour’s claim that it would thrash out another deal with the EU.

‘Who is going to negotiate it? Because as far as I can see everyone on the Labour frontbench … is campaigning for Remain apart from Mr Corbyn who is neutral on the matter,’ Mr Johnson said. 

‘How can you get a new deal from Brussels if you don’t really believe in it?’ 

But Mr Corbyn insisted Mr Johnson wanted a trade deal with the US which would take ‘seven years’ to negotiate. 

‘He knows he can’t get a deal quickly with the USA because of the way in which the US political system works,’ he said. 

‘And so what he will do is walk out of a relationship with the EU into a relationship with nobody.’ 

The Tory and Labour leaders did manage to shake hands afterwards despite exchanging insults in the bruising clashes tonight

The Tory and Labour leaders did manage to shake hands afterwards despite exchanging insults in the bruising clashes tonight

The PM warned that Labour governments always went out of power with a crisis – but he said Mr Corbyn and shadow chancellor John McDonnell would trigger one immediately. 

Mr Corbyn said he wanted ‘Socialism carried out in a democratic way in this country’ to raise living standards.

But Mr Johnson shot back: ‘I would say it is one-nation Conservatism, which understands the vital importance of a dynamic market economy as the only way in which you can pay for fantastic public services and for looking after the poorest and neediest in our society…

‘To attack capitalism as Mr Corbyn and Mr McDonnell do is absolutely senseless.’ 

Asked if he thought Mr Corbyn ‘wanted to destroy capitalism’, the PM said: ‘John McDonnell, who is the shadow chancellor, and some would say the intellectual driving force this type of plio-socialism, is committed, he says, to fermenting the overthrow of capitalism. I think that is a mistake. ‘I don’t think that is the right way forward for our country.’

Mr Corbyn replied: ‘My kind of socialism is one where you don’t leave people behind, you don’t ignore the fact that four million of our children are living in poverty, you don’t ignore the fact that you have thousands of people sleeping on the streets of this country – the fifth richest country in the world. The inequality has got worse.’ 

In one exchange Mr Corbyn contradicted Mr McDonnell, who has said he wants to introduce a four-day working week in the NHS as well as the rest of the economy. he wants to see the working week come down, but added: ‘There is no plan to bring in a four day week in the NHS.’  

Earlier, Mr Corbyn launched another frantic effort to bridge the gap, staging another ‘reveal’ of a leaked document, which he claimed showed Mr Johnson’s Brexit deal would put up barriers between the mainland and Northern Ireland. 

However, Mr Johnson flatly dismissed the claim, saying the UK would leave the EU ‘whole and entire’.

And he went on the attack by ridiculing the Labour leader’s extraordinary policy of calling a second referendum but refusing to say whether he wanted to leave the bloc.

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