Slapdown for Jacob Rees-Mogg from Boris Johnson over attack on journalist

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Boris Johnson has slapped down Jacob Rees-Mogg over his attack on a journalist under cover of parliamentary privilege, with Downing Street saying: “These are not comments that the prime minister would have made.”

News website HuffPost is demanding a public apology from Mr Rees-Mogg after he told MPs on Thursday that its correspondent Arj Singh was “a knave or a fool” over a story in which he accurately quoted foreign secretary Dominic Raab saying that the UK could miss out on trade deals if it insisted on partners observing high standards of human rights.

Editor-in-chief Jess Brammar said: “HuffPost UK would like a public apology from Jacob Rees-Mogg to us and our reporter Arj Singh after Mr Rees-Mogg made false claims about him in Parliament.”

The incident sparked a warning from the National Union of Journalists that ministers were acting “like playground bullies” in their approach to the free press.

It followed an earlier incident in which equalities minister Kemi Badenoch targetted former HuffPost reporter Nadine White – now a correspondent with The Independent – on social media in response to her emailed request for a comment.

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