The father who confronted Boris Johnson over the state of the NHS has defended Laura Kuenssberg after the BBC journalist was criticised for pointing out his involvement as a Labour activist and linking directly to his Twitter account.
The hashtag #SackLauraKuenssberg became a trending topic on Twitter Wednesday evening, after Kuenssberg, the BBC’s political editor, retweeted a tweet from Omar Salem with the comment: “this is him here.”
The BBC defended her comments, after upset viewers argued could her tweet could open the father up to online abuse. However on Thursday morning Salem said that Kuenssberg was doing her job “without fear or favour”.
Salem, whose seven-day-old daughter is currently being treated at Whipps Cross University Hospital, took the prime minister to task during his visit to the children’s ward yesterday – a confrontation which was widely broadcast.
Salem also drily pointed out: “I don’t think ‘Labour activist cares about NHS’ is a huge scoop though.”
Late on Wednesday evening the BBC released a statement which described any suggestion Kuenssberg had maliciously shared Salem’s tweet was “absurd”.
In a statement the BBC said: “Laura is a journalist who uses social media as part of her job.
“Like many others, Laura quote-tweeted a thread by Omar Salem, who had written himself about his encounter with the PM on social media and describes himself as a Labour activist.
“Any suggestions there was malicious intent behind her tweets are absurd.”
The tweet of Salem’s which Kuenssberg shared read: “Boris Johnson dropped into @WhippsCrossHosp for a press opportunity – so I gave him a piece of my mind about how he is running the NHS based on the experience with my 7 day old daughter, who was neglected for hours last night.”
During the visit, Salem told Johnson: “There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there’s not enough nurses, it’s not well organised enough.
“The NHS has been destroyed… and now you come here for a press opportunity.”
Johnson replied: “There’s no press here,” but Mr Salem gestured to cameras filming the confrontation, and said: “What do you mean there’s no press here, who are these people?”