THE BBC’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg is facing calls to resign after she incorrectly claimed that a Labour activist had assaulted a Tory staffer.

Video footage seemed to show more of an accidental bump than anything deliberate.

The incident happened outside Leeds General Infirmary where Health Secretary Matt Hancock was meeting with bosses after the Tories were shamed by a picture of a four-year-old boy with pneumonia forced to sleep on the floor due to a lack of beds.

Earlier in the day, ITN’s Joe Pike had tried to show Boris Johnson a picture of the child, but the Prime Minister grabbed the journalist’s phone and placed it in his pocket.

After the Tory leader’s bizarre reaction sparked fury online, the party’s HQ sent Hancock to the hospital.

On his way out, the Health Secretary was heckled by a small crowd. The Tories claimed they had been organised by Labour, though the opposition denied this. The party then seemingly told a number of journalists that one of their staffers had been attacked.

Shortly after, Kuenssberg tweeted: “So Matt Hancock was despatched to Leeds General (sorry not just Leeds Hospital), to try to sort out the mess, hearing Labour activists scrambled to go + protest, and it turned nasty when they arrived - one of them punched Hancock's adviser."

The National:

She wasn’t the only journalist to make the claim, ITV's Robert Peston claimed Hancock's adviser had been "whacked in the face by a protester".

Actual video footage emerged shortly. It showed a cyclist, wearing hi-viz, getting agitated with Hancock and gesticulating with his right arm. Hancock’s adviser then appeared to walk in to the man’s arm.

Kuenssberg later deleted her tweet.

She also shared footage of the incident, writing: “Have video from Hancock leaving Leeds General just come through so you can see for yourself - doesn’t look like punch thrown, rather, one of Tory team walks into protester’s arm, pretty grim encounter.”

The reaction was furious. Guardian columnist and Jeremy Corbyn supporter Owen Jones tweeted: “I cannot believe this. A load of senior journalists, including this one, whose wages we pay, uncritically circulated Tory claims that a Tory advisor had been punched, which already led to right-wing media outlets making it a story.

“It. Never. Happened.”

The former Channel 4 and BBC journalist Paul Mason tweeted: “Let's get clear what the BBC got wrong over the Leeds incident. It relied on a single, partisan source with no corroborative evidence, providing right-wing newspapers with a BBC branded fake news story.”

Peston later apologised: “It is completely clear from video footage that @MattHancock's adviser was not whacked by a protestor, as I was told by senior Tories, but that he inadvertently walked into a protestor's hand. I apologise for getting this wrong.”