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Tory HQ under fire from own MPs after using BBC newsreader's 'middle finger' gaffe to attack Labour

Furious Tory MPs have slammed their party HQ for using an image of a BBC news anchor giving the middle finger to attack Labour over immigration.

The official account for the Conservative Party on X, formerly known as Twitter, took a grab from viral footage of Maryam Moshiri that has been circulating online, for a post on Thursday captioning it: "Labour when you ask for their plans to tackle illegal migration."

Ms Moshiri was caught out on live TV raising her eyebrows and flashing her middle finger as she appeared on screen at the start of Wednesday's midday news bulletin, when she was joking around with her team and thought she was off air.

Tory social media executives decided to use interest in the viral clip to attack Labour over their immigration policy -as Rishi Sunak's Rwanda policy plunged his party into chaos after it prompted Robert Jenrick to resign as his Immigration minister.

 (Twitter/X)
(Twitter/X)

But the decision may leave Tory HQ red-faced after a number of senior Tory MPs have criticised the decision and called for it to be removed.Senior Conservative MP Alicia Kearns, chair of the Commons foreign affairs committee, said: “Amazed this has not – despite requests – beentaken down. It is beneath us.”

While Bournemouth East MP Tobias Ellwood said: "Please delete this post".

Legal immigration minister Tom Pursglove defended the tweet for casting the spotlight onto Labour's policy on immigration.

But Luke Tryl, of political campaigning experts More in Common said: “Hope Conservative MPs (from right and left) will pressure CCHQ to deletethis and stop it happening again. I can say for certain it’s not the sort of thing that will land well with any of their voters - from Traditional Tories to Red and Blue Wall alike.”

Jonathan Gullis, Conservative MP for Stoke-on-Trent North, Kidsgrove & Talke, defended the post, saying: "I approve this message".

But Lord Barwell, Theresa May’s former chief of staff, hit out at his support, saying: "To be fair, it is pitched right at his level."

"This is the exact opposite of what politics should be", he added, asking Conservative party chairman Richard Holden "Can you please get it taken down".

Conservative Campaign Headquarters have been contacted for comment.