The Telegraph 2024-03-11 10:00:47

Princess of Wales photo recalled by picture agencies over editing fears

A photograph released by Kensington Palace, showing the Princess of Wales with her children, was recalled on Sunday night by five of the world’s biggest picture agencies over fears it had been “manipulated”.

The image, taken by the Prince of Wales in Windsor earlier this week, showed the Princess looking happy and healthy after her surgery, and is the first authorised picture of her since Christmas.

Released on Mothering Sunday, it was hoped that it would quell speculation and conspiracy theories about the Princess’s health and whereabouts.

Instead, it was recalled by photo agencies Getty, Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Shutterstock and Reuters, which put out a “kill notice” to halt their distribution of the picture.

“At closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image,” the AP notice said.

A spokesman told The Telegraph: “The photo shows an inconsistency in the alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand.”

The agencies have a policy of not distributing photographs that have been overly edited. Kensington Palace declined to comment.

There is no suggestion that the picture misrepresents the Princess or her children, or that she is not in as good health as she appears.

The photograph had been intended, in part, to reassure the public about her health, after she has spent weeks at home recovering from a major abdominal operation.

The photograph raised further questions on social media, with critics claiming that Princess Charlotte’s sleeve and wrist appeared to be partially missing:

Others had already pointed out that the Princess of Wales was not wearing her wedding ring, while others made mention of Prince Louis having his fingers crossed and questioned a tree in the background which had leaves in mid-March.

The photograph was released via social media by Kensington Palace, alongside a short Mother’s Day message. 

“Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months,” the Princess said in a written caption.

“Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

The message was signed “C” for Catherine.

It is the first time the Princess has appeared in an authorised photograph since Christmas Day and her first message since January 17, when the palace asked for privacy and specified that she would be out of the public eye until at least Easter.

The Princess, looking healthy and happy, is dressed in jeans and smiles for the camera, with her arms around Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. Prince George, her eldest, stands behind her with his arms around her neck in a hug. The children are seen roaring with laughter, in an image taken by their father Prince William in Windsor earlier this week.

It was something of a role reversal for the couple, who have made a tradition of releasing images taken by the Princess, who is a keen photographer.

The picture, part of the family’s annual tradition of posting a message for Mothering Sunday, was intended in part to answer questions from the public about the Princess’ wellbeing. Kensington Palace has always reiterated that she has been “doing well” following major abdominal surgery in January, recuperating slowly at home in Adelaide Cottage with her young family.

Nevertheless, after 76 days out of the public eye, she has been the subject of some of the most extraordinary conspiracy theories in modern royal history, with growing conversation on social media about her whereabouts.

The Mother’s Day post was hailed by royal watchers as the Princess sharing information on her own terms. Within hours, however, social media users began commenting on a so-called “Photoshop fail”.

The Prince of Wales has previously spoken out about the problem of “fake news”, and in 2018 accused social media firms of not doing enough to halt it. 

It is thought to be the first time the agencies have publicly recalled an official photograph from the palace. 

The growing use of artificial intelligence has prompted agencies to update their policies so that manipulated images are not distributed.

Kensington Palace has previously been accused of “Photoshop fails” on social media, including over a Christmas card that appeared to leave Prince Louis without a middle finger.

The recall of the Mothering Sunday photograph is the latest drama for a Royal family which has been beset by challenges this year, with the King being diagnosed with cancer, the Princess of Wales having surgery, and the Prince of Wales stepping back from engagements to care for her.

The explanation that the Prince of Wales had missed a memorial for his godfather, King Constantine of Greece, for a “personal” matter only encouraged mounting speculation about what was happening in the family.

Members of the Royal family will on Monday attend the Commonwealth Day service at Westminster Abbey in what is supposed to be a show of stability.

The King, who cannot attend public engagements while undergoing treatment for cancer, will deliver a message via video. The Queen will lead the Royal family, with the Prince of Wales due to attend. He will later be seen at an evening event promoting Launchpad, the new Earthshot investing platform.

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Live Oscars 2024: Oppenheimer sweeps the board, winning Best Director, Picture and Actor

  • Oscars 2024 winners in full
  • Oppenheimer deserved its Oscars coronation – but thank goodness Barbie was there to lighten the mood
  • Jimmy Kimmel delivered a fast, controversy-free and stonkingly adequate ceremony
  • Bumper night for the Brits as Christopher Nolan finally gets his Oscar
  • How Robert Downey Jr made the greatest comeback in Hollywood history – twice

By Rozina Sabur and India McTaggart in Los Angeles, and Poppie Platt and Marianka Swain 

Christopher Nolan and Cillian Murphy nabbed their first Academy Awards on Sunday night as their epic biopic Oppenheimer led the night with seven Oscars. 

Murphy claimed the gong for leading actor for his portrayal of the physicist J Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atomic bomb during World War Two. “For better or worse, we’re all living in Oppenheimer’s world,” Murphy said in his acceptance speech, which he dedicated “to the peacemakers everywhere”. 

Murphy, 47, also praised his rival nominees, Bradley Cooper in Maestro, Jeffrey Wright in American Fiction, Paul Giamatti in The Holdovers, and Colman Domingo in Rustin. It caps a triumphant awards season for the Irish actor, who also picked up a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a Screen Actors Guild award for his leading role. 

The 96th Academy Awards in Los Angeles was delayed by several minutes after demonstrations over Israel’s war in Gaza disrupted nominees’ route to the red carpet. 

Pro-Palestine protesters blocked major streets leading to Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, forcing some stars to abandon their vehicles and make their way on foot, while others used golf carts to squeeze through traffic. 

After winning Best International Feature Film for The Zone of Interest, British director Jonathan Glazer delivered one of the most overtly political speeches of the night, as he touched on Israel’s war against Hamas in the Gaza Strip. 

Glazer, who is Jewish, said: “We stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people.” He continued: “Whether the victims of October 7th in Israel or the ongoing attack on Gaza, all the victims, this dehumanisation, how do we resist?” 

“All our choices were made to reflect and confront us in the present – not to say, ‘Look what they did then,’ rather, ‘Look what we do now’,” he said of his film, which is based on a novel by the late Martin Amis and centres on a German officer’s family living next door to the Auschwitz death camp during the Second World War.

London-born Nolan, 53, had waited decades to be recognised by the Academy, despite garnering critical acclaim throughout his career and being nominated eight times since 2001. However, his Best Director win on Sunday night was widely expected. Oppenheimer had been the critics favourite since its release last summer, bringing in nearly $1 billion worldwide at the box office. 

As well as claiming awards for Best Director and Best Actor, it won Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor, Cinematography, Editing and Original Score. Nolan thanked his wife Emma Thomas, for being the “producer of all our films and all our children”, along with his leading actor, Murphy. “Thank you for those who have been there for me and believed in me my whole career,” he said. 

It was also a successful night for Poor Things, which won four Oscars, including a leading actress award for Emma Stone. 

But the highest grossing film of 2023, Barbie, claimed just one award with Billie Eilish’s “What Was I Made For?” in the best original song category. Eilish and Ryan Gosling both performed songs from Barbie to raucous applause from the star-studded audience. 

In a night of firsts, Robert Downey Jr also claimed his first Oscar for his supporting role in Oppenheimer. “Here’s my little secret. I needed this job more than it needed me,” he said in an acceptance speech which alluded to his longtime struggle with addiction. “I stand here before you a better man because of it.” Downey Jr thanked his publicist and lawyer whom he said had spent 20 years “trying to get me insured and bailing me out of the hoosegow”. 

At 83, filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki earned a historic Oscar for The Boy and the Heron. The legendary Japanese anime master was the oldest director ever nominated for the category, along with Toshio Suzuki, and the oldest winner by more than two decades. 

The speech stood out in a night dominated by levity, with the night’s host Jimmy Kimmel gently mocking celebrities in the audience and highlighting the controversy over Barbie’s omission in several big categories, including Greta Gerwig’s snub for best director. “I know you’re clapping, but you’re the ones who didn’t vote for her,” Kimmel pointed out. 

In another skit, he was joined on stage by a seemingly naked John Cena, who presented the costume category with a strategically placed envelope containing the winner. 

After largely avoiding politics, Kimmel rounded out the night with a joke about Donald Trump, whom he said was criticising his performance as a host. “Isn’t it past your jail time?” Kimmel quipped.

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Labour comes out against a UAE-backed takeover of The Telegraph

Labour has come out against a UAE-backed takeover of The Telegraph. 

Thangam Debbonaire, the shadow culture secretary, told The Spectator that the view of the party “is that foreign governments should not own national newspapers. This is a bid by a foreign power, funded by the deputy prime minister of the UAE, and as such this bid should not pass”.

It comes as the Government is understood to be considering an overhaul of Britain’s media ownership laws to restrict foreign state influence.

RedBird IMI, a fund 75 per cent financed by the UAE, is trying to gain control of The Daily Telegraph, The Sunday Telegraph and the Spectator magazine.

The attempted takeover is stuck in limbo as the Culture Department waits for the media regulator Ofcom and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to complete investigations.

Ofcom is scheduled to deliver its report to Lucy Frazer, the Culture Secretary, today. She would then be able to block the deal following further investigation by the CMA of its potential threat to press freedom.

Ms Debbonaire told the Spectator: “My view – and the view of the Labour party – is that foreign governments should not own national newspapers. This is a bid by a foreign power, funded by the deputy prime minister of the UAE, and as such this bid should not pass. Labour is unequivocal and unambiguous on this point: ownership by a foreign power is incompatible with press freedom, which is essential in a democracy.”

Past concerns about foreign bids

Meanwhile Tom Tugendhat, the security minister who attends Cabinet, said the Government “shouldn’t be shy about standing up for ourselves” on foreign state ownership bids.

Mr Tugendhat said: “You’ll understand that I can’t comment on the RedBird deal specifically and I just wouldn’t want to prejudge it. It wouldn’t be right.

“However, look, more broadly, I’ve expressed concerns in the past about foreign bids of strategically important British assets. Whether that be Newport Wafer Fab or Arm or Deep Mind, I’ve already made my views clear.

“Before selling these kinds of assets we should ask whether it’s in the long-term interests of the United Kingdom. And if the answer’s no, we shouldn’t be shy about standing up for ourselves and saying so.”

In a significant intervention by a minister as the Government weighs up its options, Mr Tugendhat added later in his LBC interview: “This is a really important aspect of our national security and we’ve always made it very clear that when decisions need to be taken, we’ll take them and we’ll make the right decision for the United Kingdom.”

The Government has issued a write-round to ministers, proposing either giving Parliament a veto over any proposed foreign state ownership of UK newspapers, or determining a threshold for the Government to intervene in foreign state ownership bids based on the level or type of investment.

It comes after Baroness Stowell, the Tory chairman of the Communications and Digital Committee, tabled an amendment to the Digital Markets Bill which would give Parliament a veto on foreign states taking over UK news organisations.

It is due to be debated and voted on this Wednesday.

More than 100 MPs, led by Robert Jenrick, the former Tory immigration minister, have announced their support for the amendment from Lady Stowell, who was Tory leader of the Lords when Lord Cameron was prime minister.

However, Mr Sunak’s decision on what action the Government will take is expected to be made before the debate on Wednesday. Any government amendment would likely be made to the Enterprise Act.

It is understood that once the Government has decided upon its intervention, ministers would encourage Lady Stowell to withdraw her amendment.

MPs across political spectrum criticised deal

On Monday morning, Bridget Phillipson, Labour’s shadow education secretary, suggested that Labour would work with the Government on measures to protect newspapers and media organisations from “undue influence”. 

Asked about the proposed takeover of The Telegraph and Lady Stowell’s amendment, Ms Phillipson said that “right across the party lines” politicians want to protect the freedom of the press. 

Ms Phillipson told BBC Radio Four’s Today programme: “Of course questions of ownership are important. I think what all of us would want to see right across party lines is a free and fair press, and where we don’t have undue influence and we would want to look carefully at any proposals about that.”

The party had indicated that it would give its peers a free vote on Lady Stowell’s amendment, rather than instructing them to back it. 

Lady Stowell had written to the 170 Labour peers seeking their support.

The scale of concern about the proposed UAE-backed takeover of The Telegraph emerged in a House of Commons debate in January, when MPs from across the political spectrum criticised the deal.

Alicia Kearns, the Tory MP for Rutland and Melton, who heads up the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee, said in that debate: “We are dealing with something that will make us vulnerable not for five or 10 years, but for the rest of our lives, and we cannot afford for our media to be undermined.”

John Nicolson, the SNP MP, said “allowing the UAE to take over The Telegraph would be unhealthy in principle for our democracy”.

Jamie Stone, the Liberal Democrat MP, said: “The message should be passed back to the Secretary of State and to the Government that we will not wear this.”

‘Illegal in many democracies, but not yet in ours’

Commenting on the Labour announcement, Fraser Nelson, the editor of the Spectator, told the Today programme: “This is the first time we’ve had a principled statement from a frontbencher. I think Labour has moved the dial now to say this is what’s at stake here, let’s not pretend as RedBird do that the Emiratis are acting in a private capacity.

“This is a fund run by the Emirati deputy prime minister, he’s not using his own money, and this shouldn’t be allowed. It’s illegal in many democracies, but not yet in ours.”

Asked about private individuals owning newspapers more generally, Mr Nelson replied: “Newspapers have always been owned by publishers and freedom of press has always been defined for 300 years as freedom from government.”

He added: “I don’t think anybody thinks The Times reflects Rupert Murdoch’s view, and the other newspapers he owns. But newspapers only work if they have a relationship with the readers, if readers don’t buy them, they stop. That’s where the power lies, the power doesn’t come from up high.

“What the Emiratis understand is there are lots of British ministers wanting lots of their money right now. No autocracy in the world has managed to buy a newspaper in a democracy, it’s never been the case. They’ve managed to buy wind farms and airports and what have you but never, never a newspaper. So a line could be crossed here. 

“This could be the point where Britain thinks that, actually, press freedom cannot be defended in the era of rising rich autocracies and that it’s okay to let governments own newspapers.”

Asked what he thought would happen to the Spectator, Mr Nelson said it would not become an “Arab Pravda” but it would “become [a tool] of influence, be seen as a tool of influence, that would lower confidence in the publication… This is a line that no other democracy has ever crossed for good reason, Britain has kept on the right side of the line for three centuries. I think we can still manage it now.”

Lord Moore, a former editor of The Telegraph, said he would likely quit his role as a columnist at the newspaper if the takeover went ahead. 

He told the Today programme: “It wouldn’t be a problem if it was owned by someone connected to the UAE. It would be a problem if it’s owned by what is in effect, the government of the ruling family of Abu Dhabi. The problem is not foreignness, it’s a foreign state owning a national newspaper.

“I don’t think there’s any country in the world in which a foreign state is allowed to own a national newspaper. And as soon as you have a government owning a national newspaper, it’s bound to lose independence and can’t be trusted anymore. And that seems to me to be, I think any journalist would recognise that as a red line.”

The Tory peer said the UK Government could not conceivably own The Telegraph, adding: “Why would it be allowable that it should be owned by a foreign power?”

And asked if he would continue writing his Telegraph column if the RedBird sale went ahead, Lord Moore replied: “Oh no, I don’t think so.”

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Charlotte’s hand and six other clues that suggest Princess of Wales family picture was doctored

An “inconsistency” with Princess Charlotte’s hand was the detail which suggested to one picture agency that Kensington Palace’s image of the Princess of Wales and her children had been manipulated.

Social media users claimed that part of her wrist was missing.

Others commented that the Princess of Wales was not wearing her wedding ring, while Prince Louis had his fingers crossed and a tree in the background appeared to have leaves in mid-March.

The picture, released by Kensington Palace with a Mother’s Day message, was recalled by picture agencies Getty, the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters, which put out a “kill notice” to halt distribution.

“At closer inspection, it appears that the source has manipulated the image,” the AP notice said.

Picture recall may be a first

The agencies have a policy of not distributing photographs that have been overly edited.

It is thought to be the first time a picture issued by the royals has been recalled in this way.

Dr Hany Farid, a professor of computer sciences at the University of California Berkeley, told The Telegraph the issue with Princess Charlotte’s sleeve looked like a “bad Photoshop job”.

“I clearly see what is being referenced here, with respect to her sleeve. It looks like a bad Photoshop job,” he said.

“I know we talk a lot about AI lately but it is still possible to use traditional photo-editing tools,” he added.

“What you would be worried about here is if Kate wasn’t in this photo and had been digitally inserted. This would be a dramatic manipulation.”

There is no evidence to suggest that the Princess has been inserted into the photograph.

Dr Farid added: “You see her hands around the kids on both sides, you see her hair is touching the boy. The contact between her and the boy is very good.

“There are two likely stories. Perhaps there was something they didn’t like on the girl’s hand or sleeve, so they airbrushed it and did a bad job.”

Jake Moore, a former digital forensics officer for Dorset Police who now works as a global cyber security adviser for internet security company ESET, said clues of editing would lie in the lighting and direction of shadows in any picture.

He told The Telegraph: “The clues would lie in the lighting on the face, in the light and shade and the shadows.

“In a true image, the shadows will all be in the same direction as the light. 

“For example, if in one image of four people, the light is all coming from one direction, the shadows will all match.”

‘Camera may have been responsible’

Dr Farid said the manipulation could have been done by the camera itself, rather than the picture being edited.

“What modern cameras can do is take a series of photos in rapid succession and create a composite to get the best expressions for a more perfect picture,” he said.

“When it does this it can sometimes make mistakes. 

“As such, there is clearly evidence of editing but it is unclear if this was human edited or camera edited.

“The fact that it is on the left arm, makes it hard to think there is something nefarious. 

“I think more likely than not it was an unintentional camera-induced artefact which is genuinely benign.”

Kensington Palace has declined to comment.

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Earl Spencer’s sexual abuse allegations reported to local authority

The school where Earl Spencer claims he was physically and sexually abused as a pupil in the 1970s has referred the allegations to the local authority, a spokesman has said.

In a book to be published this week, the 59-year-old reveals how he was molested by a female assistant matron at Maidwell Hall prep school in Northamptonshire, where he was a pupil between 1972 and 1977.

He claims the “voracious paedophile”, who was a young woman in her late teens or early 20s, sexually abused him and other pupils while they were in their dormitory beds at night.

Earl Spencer also alleges the former headmaster would spank boys on their bare bottoms, while another teacher took boys for naked swimming lessons.

The claims appear in his new memoir A Very Private School, in which he reveals he was so traumatised by his experiences he regularly considered shooting himself with one of his father’s shotguns.

In a lengthy statement, a spokesman for Maidwell Hall in Northamptonshire said the allegations were difficult to read about and a referral had been made to the Local Authority Designated Officer.

The spokesman also urged any other pupils with similar allegations to come forward and report them to either the school, the local authority or the police.

In the book, Earl Spencer reveals how the alleged abuse took place when he was moved into a new dormitory when he was aged around 11.

He claims the assistant matron at the time – whom boys would refer to as “Please” – would come into the room after lights out and hand out illicit snacks.

But he said one night she kissed him on the lips before molesting him under the bedsheets.

He said he was not the only pupil she did this to and would choose a different boy each term to have intercourse with.

The book also makes a series of allegations about other members of staff including the late headmaster, John Alexander Hector Porch, who was known to the boys as Jack.

He claims he meted out brutal corporal punishment with a slipper or a cane that sometimes left the boys bloodied and bruised.

A spokesman for Maidwell Hall said: “It is sobering to read about the experiences Charles Spencer and some of his fellow alumni had at the school, and we are sorry that was their experience.

“It is difficult to read about practices which were, sadly, sometimes believed to be normal and acceptable at that time.

“Within education today, almost every facet of school life has evolved significantly since the 1970s. At the heart of the changes is the safeguarding of children, and promotion of their welfare.

“Although we have not directly received any claims from ex-pupils, considering what has been reported, the school has followed the statutory process and made a referral to the LADO (Local Authority Designated Officer).

“We would encourage anyone with similar experiences to come forward and contact either Maidwell Hall, the LADO or the police.”

A spokesman from the NSPCC praised Earl Spencer for speaking about the issue and urged anyone with concerns about a child being sexually abused to call their helpline.

“By bravely speaking out, Earl Spencer has reassured others in a similar position that they are not alone. No matter how long ago sexual abuse may have taken place, it is never too late to share your experience with people who are ready to listen and help.”

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Watch: Ryan Gosling steals the show with hilarious performance of ‘I’m Just Ken’

Ryan Gosling stole the show at the Oscars with a hilarious performance of his hit song I’m Just Ken on Sunday evening.

The Barbie actor, 43, had the audience in peals of laughter as he performed a rendition of the song packed with an ensemble of his fellow Ken cast members and “Kenergy”.

The performance, which he did wearing a pink jewelled rhinestone suit and sunglasses, saw him serenading Margot Robbie and doing a full-blown singalong with co-star America Ferrera and director Greta Gerwig.

The La La Land actor performed the smash hit alongside the songwriter Mark Ronson, who wore a pink shirt as he played the guitar onstage.

I’m Just Ken was nominated for best song at the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday, but missed out to another Barbie tune – also performed at the Oscars by Billie Eilish and her brother Finneas.

Gosling began his show stopping performance wearing a stetson hat tipped over his head as he sat in the audience. Eilish and Robbie, who were sitting nearby, could be seen barely containing their laughter.

The actor was joined onstage by several actors who played Ken in the blockbuster film, including Ncuti Gatwa, Simu Liu, and Kingsley Ben-Adir, as well as a host of dancers in stetsons.

The Ken army performed the all-singing, all-dancing rendition to the audience’s delight – and it even included a moment where Gosling was lifted into the air and surrounded by cut-outs of Barbie’s head.

British-American musician Slash then delivered a surprise guitar solo while Gosling stepped out into the audience.

The actor stopped by his former co-star Emma Stone, who enthusiastically sang along, before he shared the microphone with his co-stars in the front row – Robbie, Ferrera and Gerwig – who passionately joined in.

Stone, who won best actress for her performance in Poor Things, later joked that she had ripped her dress during the performance.

Speaking to reporters backstage after her win, she said: “I genuinely do think I busted it during I’m Just Ken.

“I was so amazed by Ryan and what he was doing and that number just blew my mind and I was right there and I was just going for it and you know, things happen,” she laughed.

The actress had to have the back of her dress sewn back up after joking about it during her acceptance speech.

Gosling’s performance was already going viral immediately after the Oscars wrapped up, with one clip of it posted by Variety on TikTok gaining 2.3 million views in under one hour.

Over 4,000 gushing comments praised his effort and commitment to the rendition, including one fan saying that it “could have been a Super Bowl half-time show”.

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Lord Cameron urged to stop ‘sniping’ at Israel

Conservative MPs have accused David Cameron of “sniping” at Israel over its handling of the situation in Gaza and have claimed the Foreign Office shows “anti-Israel sentiment”.

A group of pro-Israel Tory MPs is due to raise its concerns with the Foreign Secretary at a meeting on Tuesday.

Last week, Lord Cameron met Benny Gantz, the Israeli cabinet minister, to discuss the flow of aid into Gaza. After the meeting, he posted a statement on X, formerly Twitter, saying that he had “made clear the steps Israel must take to increase aid” and that “we are still not seeing improvements on the ground”.

He also said he was “deeply concerned about the prospect of a military offensive in Rafah” and that Israel’s performance in making aid available would have “consequences” for the UK’s assessment about “whether Israel is compliant” with international law.

One MP told The Telegraph that when the statement was posted into a Tory WhatsApp group, there was “irritation in relation to what he said”.

Theresa Villiers, a former cabinet minister, said: “The UK Government must [support] Israel’s right to defend itself from the genocidal death cult that attacked them on Oct 7.

“Lord Cameron should acknowledge the huge efforts being made by the IDF to minimise civilian casualties and also to facilitate aid to Gaza.”

She added that Israel is a “valued ally of the UK and ministers should take care not to undermine our diplomatic partnership with the only democracy in the Middle East”.

“We should be backing Israel in its hour of need, not sniping at them,” she said.

Andrew Percy, the MP for Brigg and Goole, said: “Repeatedly the [Foreign Office] places all of the emphasis on Israel and holds them to account for the consequences of a war they did not start and for civilian suffering which is [a] result of the actions of Hamas.”

Bob Blackman, the MP for Harrow East, said: “We’ve got to be more stringent in our support for Israel generally.”

A Foreign Office source said: “The Foreign Secretary is a huge friend of Israel. He went to Kibbutz Be’eri and has seen the horror of what took place there so he gets it. But sometimes being a friend means having to deliver a tough message, like over humanitarian aid.”

Other Tory MPs are more supportive of the Government’s position.

Alicia Kearns, the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that on a recent visit to an aid staging location in Egypt the committee had seen “tons” of goods that had been refused entry into Gaza, including medical supplies.

Ms Kearns has written to Lord Cameron urging him to follow up an offer made by Eylon Levy, an Israeli government spokesman, who invited the international community to “send another 100 trucks a day”, insisting there were “no limits” on essential aid.

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