‘Labour goes on offensive after Conservatives wrongly allege assault by activist on health secretary’s aide’

Labour has accused Boris Johnson’s campaign of “lying and cheating” to try to distract attention from the prime minister’s insensitive reaction to a sick four-year-old boy forced to sleep on a hospital floor.

With just days to go until polling day, the Tories suffered one of their worst days of the campaign as Johnson refused on camera to look at a picture of the poorly child and pocketed the phone of the reporter who tried to show it to him.

The incident escalated when Matt Hancock, the health secretary, was dispatched to Leeds General Infirmary in an effort to show that the party was taking the case seriously. But Johnson’s team ended up trying to deflect the story on to Labour by wrongly briefing that a Tory aide was “punched” outside the hospital by a leftwing activist.

The claims quickly turned out to be untrue when video footage showed that the adviser was accidentally brushed in the face.

“The Tories are so desperate to distract from a four-year-old boy sleeping on a hospital floor because of their cuts to the NHS that, once again, they have resorted to barefaced lying,” a Labour spokesperson said. “This is a new low and the Conservative party has serious questions to answer.”’