Angry dad who confronted PM defends BBC's Laura Kuenssberg over tweet

Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson (R) listens as the father of a young girl.
Omar Salem confronted Boris Johnson (R) at Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, east London (Picture: Getty Images)

A Labour activist has defended BBC journalist Laura Kuenssberg after she was accused of maliciously sharing his details online.

Omar Salem said the political editor was “doing her job without fear or favour” when she reported his allegiance to the Labour party on Twitter after he confronted Boris Johnson at a hospital on Wednesday.

He added what she was doing was a ‘vital part of democracy’.

Many social media users condemned the move and suggested it could “direct harassment” at Mr Salem, who told the Prime Minister the NHS was being destroyed while stood in a children’s ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital, where his seven-day-old daughter is being treated.

Mr Salem told the PM on Wednesday: “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.”

Mr 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?”

Mr Salem’s Twitter profile states he is a Labour activist, but some users called for Ms Kuenssberg to be fired, with #SackLauraKuenssberg trending on the site.

Mr Salem did not agree and made this clear on Twitter.

The BBC also defended Ms Kuenssberg in a statement, saying: “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.”


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Mr Johnson shrugged off the confrontation with Mr Salem.

He wrote on Twitter: “I’ve been PM for 57 days, part of my job is to talk to people on the ground and listen to what they tell me about the big problems.

“It doesn’t matter if they agree with me. I’m glad this gentleman told me his problems. This isn’t an embarrassment this is part of my job.”

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