Fact-checking website Full Fact has rubbished claims made in a viral video on Facebook that CyclingMikey caught Akshata Murty, the Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's wife, using Instagram on her phone while driving.
The bizarre episode relates to a video by the road safety campaigner — real name Michael van Erp — who reports law-breaking drivers using their mobile phones, and was initially uploaded to YouTube in July 2021, showing a female driver using Instagram while driving through London's Hyde Park.
CyclingMikey made no reference to the woman being Akshata Murty and told viewers at the time that the woman pleaded guilty and had been disqualified from driving for six months having been given six penalty points, a £192 fine, and been ordered to pay costs of £110, and a £34 victim surcharge.
However, nearly three years on the footage has re-emerged in a viral Facebook post that has been edited to falsely claim the woman is, in fact, Ms Murty.
The Facebook page, which has in the last 24 hours also shared videos featuring Tommy Robinson and Katie Hopkins, posted the edited footage last week, with it going viral and being shared, liked and commented on thousands of times.
"Bloody rules for the masses. Whilst the elite do as they like," one popular comment said. Another added: "She don't care about nothing just like her husband."
Facebook has since inserted a message saying the video contains false information, that coming after leading UK fact-checking website Full Fact confirmed the claims it shows Sunak's wife are "false".
The need for an official fact-checking came as something of a surprise to CyclingMikey who, when informed of the episode by road.cc on Sunday afternoon, said "the driver in the video looks nothing like her" and it "seems a bit racist of the person who ripped and edited that video".
I got Full Facted! @FullFact So, someone ripped off one of my videos and claimed it was Akshata Murty (Rishi's wife). The driver in the video looks nothing like her. https://t.co/REU8uYZ0L9
I know (or knew) the name of the actual driver as someone told me and I googled her.
— CyclingMikey the Unspeakable (@MikeyCycling) February 11, 2024
He has since commented on the post saying he will be reporting it for copyright and asked why they have "ripped the video, and why did you make up the story it was Rishi's wife?"
Full Fact wrote on its website:
A video being shared online claims to show a cyclist catching Akshata Murty, Rishi Sunak's wife, using Instagram while driving. But the woman in the video is not Ms Murty.
It is clear from photos of Ms Murty that she is not the woman driving in the video. There have been no reports of Ms Murty committing any such driving offence.
The clip comes from a longer video that was shared on YouTube in July 2021, without the overlaid text claiming it shows "Rishi Sunak's wife", and shows the woman apparently using Instagram behind the wheel. The video was shared by an account that often uploads footage from a helmet camera showing people using their phones at the wheel.
Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.