Misinformation, false claims about UK PM Rishi Sunak flood social media – Alt News

On October 27, the United Kingdom got its first non-white Prime Minister in Rishi Sunak. At 42, the former chancellor of the exchequer also became Britain’s youngest Prime Minister in recent history. Against this backdrop, several videos of him have surfaced on social media with a wide range of claims.

Claim I: Rishi Sunak lit diyas before entering the new office

A video of Rishi Sunak lighting diyas outside his home is circulating with the claim that it shows the new UK PM performing Diwali rituals. Some users have claimed that Sunak performed these traditions before entering his new office, while some said that he had performed these rituals after becoming the PM outside 11 Downing Street, his former home.

User @ThisIsAfricaTIA tweeted the video and garnered almost 40K likes and over 8K retweets. (Archive)

News24 tweeted the video with the caption “ब्रिटेन के नए PM ऋषि सुनक ने लंदन के 11 डाउनिंग स्ट्रीट पर अपने घर के बाहर दिए जलाए”. (Archive)

It must be noted that 10 Downing Street is the official residence and office of the British Prime Minister while 11 Downing Street is the official residence of Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer, a post that Sunak held from February 13, 2020, to July 5, 2022.

Stills from the video have been shared on Facebook.

Fact Check

Upon reverse image searching stills from the video, we found a video tweeted by Rishi Sunak’s official handle wherein he talks about Diwali festivities at his house at “No. 11” or 11 Downing Street. The video was uploaded on November 14, 2020, and is captioned, “I’ve placed our rangoli outside No.11, the mithai are set to be delivered and the family Zoom is booked in….”. In between his interview, the viral video is played where he can be seen placing the diyas and the rangoli on the street. In November 2020, Sunak held the post of Britain’s chancellor of the exchequer. (Archive)

This incident was covered by major newspapers in 2020. The Guardian used a picture of Sunak lighting the diyas in a November 2020 report. ‘The UK chancellor, Rishi Sunak, has urged fellow Hindus to ‘follow the rules’ during Diwali as he lit small clay oil lamps on the doorstep of his official residence at 11 Downing Street to mark the beginning of the five-day festival of lights,’ it said.

NDTV also used a picture of Sunak lighting the diyas in their reportage of this incident. ‘Rishi Sunak Lights Diya On Downing Street In London Ahead Of Diwali’ reads their headline.

Images of then chancellor Rishi Sunak lighting diyas for Diwali at his Downing Street residence on November 12, 2020, can also be found on Getty Images.

Thus it is clear that an old image of the present British PM lighting diyas has been circulating as a recent photograph.

Claim II: Man dancing in video is Rishi Sunak

A video of a man dancing at a club has gone viral with the claim that he is British PM Rishi Sunak.

User @Schandillia tweeted the video and garnered 3.6k likes. (Archive)

User @benallaoff tweeted the video and garnered 3.2k likes. (Archive)

Users @CaptainGzb and @mdenaxa also tweeted the video. (Archives- 1, 2)

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It has also been shared on Facebook.

Fact Check

Upon reverse image searching the key-frames of the video, we found a January 2022 article by Ladbible titled ‘Rishi Sunak Lookalike ‘Raving Rishi’ Raves At Wayne Lineker’s Ibiza Club’. The report talks about an unnamed man resembling Rishi Sunak dancing at a club in Ibiza referring to a video uploaded by the club owner, Wayne Lineker, on January 21, 2022. According to the article, the video was posted by Wayne in response to news that clubs in Ibiza will be able to open in April.

The video was jokingly re-posted by Lineker in July 2022, while Rishi Sunak was campaigning for the office of the Prime Minister.

Lineker originally uploaded the video on July 12, 2019, with the caption “Life’s good right now!!”.

Lineker has even shared a screenshot of a Daily Mail report about the Rishi Sunak doppelganger who was seen ‘raving’ at his club, thus confirming that the man seen at his club was indeed a look-alike.

Additionally, there are no reports of Sunaks’s visit to Ibiza. However, according to Sunak’s Facebook post dated July 15, 2019, he was invited to crown Northallerton Carnival’s Queen for 2019.

Hence a video showing a doppelganger of United Kingdom Prime Minister Rishi Sunak dancing at a club in Ibiza is being widely circulated on social media with the false claim that the man in the video is Sunak himself.

Claim III: Video of Rishi Sunak visiting ISKCON temple is a recent one

A video of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and his wife Akshata Murthy visiting the Bhaktivedanta Manor, the UK headquarters of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON), and exchanging pleasantries has gone viral with the claim that it is a recent one. (Archive)

Socio-political activist Harshavardhan Muppavarapu also tweeted the video and garnered 1.3k likes and almost 200 retweets. (Archive)

The video is also viral on Facebook.

Fact Check

Upon reverse image searching one of the key-frames of the viral video, we found an NDTV report dated August 18, 2022, with the headline ‘Rishi Sunak Visits Temple On Janmashtami Along (With) Wife Akshata’. According to the report, the couple visited the temple on the occasion of Janmashtami.

Additionally, Sunak also tweeted, “Today I visited the Bhaktivedanta Manor temple with my wife Akshata to celebrate Janmashtami, in advance of the popular Hindu festival celebrating Lord Krishna’s birthday”. Rishi Sunak and his wife can be seen wearing the same attire in the tweeted photograph as seen in the viral video.

Below, we have compared a still from the viral video and the image that was tweeted by Sunak.

Bhaktivedanta Manor’s Facebook page also shared several photos from Sunak’s visit on August 18, 2022. Once again, Rishi Sunak and Akshata Murthy can be seen wearing the same attire in the image uploaded on Facebook.

Resident monk at Bhaktivedanta Manor, S.B. Keshava Swami uploaded the viral video on Instagram on September 18, with the caption, “Was a pleasure to meet @rishisunakmp & Akshata Murthy a few weeks ago..”.

Hence, a video shot during Sunak’s visit to the ISKCON headquarters in August 2022 is being circulated with the claim that it is a recent one.

Claim IV: Virat Kohli is receiving an award from Rishi Sunak in viral picture

An image of a young Virat Kohli receiving an award has gone viral with the claim that the person handing over the prize to Kohli is British PM Rishi Sunak. (Archive)

Several other users shared the image with the same claim. (Archives 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6)

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The image has also been shared on Facebook.

Fact Check

Virat Kohli had uploaded what seems like a newspaper clipping of this image on his official Facebook page in January 2015. The caption of the image reads, ‘A young Kohli sets off on the path to stardom. He accepts an award from pace bowler Ashish Nehra.’

Several users have shared this image jokingly claiming that the man giving Kohli the award is Rishi Sunak, owing to the starkly similar facial features that Sunak and Ashish Nehra share. (Archive)

Moreover, we found a video uploaded to The Quint’s YouTube page wherein Nehra can be heard talking about this image. He says, “That picture is more popular because of Virat Kohli”.

Hence in this case too, a photograph is being falsely claimed as that of Rishi Sunak. In reality, the person presenting the award to a young Virat Kohli is former Indian cricketer Ashish Nehra, and not British PM Rishi Sunak.



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