The 451-page leak of six documents on UK-US trade talks, publicised by Jeremy Corbyn today, were uploaded to the social media site reddit and shared with journalists on Twitter over a month ago.
On 21st October 2019, a user named “gregoratior” wrote a post on the “worldpolitics” subreddit titled: “OFFICIAL-SENSITIVE: Great Britain is practically standing on her knees working on a trade agreement with the US“. The post received 36 votes in total and only six comments, passing by almost entirely unnoticed.
Starting two days later, a Twitter account named “gregoratior” repeatedly shared a link to the reddit post. In various tweets, they sent it to the Labour Party, their press team, John McDonnell, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP, and a series of journalists at papers such as the FT, the Wall Street Journal, and the Telegraph. None of the tweets received any visible engagement, and none of the journalists seemed to pay any attention.
Metadata analysis of the documents reveals the whistleblower is likely to have had the documents since the end of July 2019.
One Labour MEP, Jude Kirton-Darling, tweeted out the documents five days ago, though her post only received a single retweet.
The whistleblower account, named Wilbur Gregoratior, has only got “#StopBrexit” in its bio.
In the reddit post, they wrote: “Based on the content of these documents, we can now imagine what a terrible price Britain will have to pay to conclude a free trade agreement with the United States – from betraying partners and the interests of own citizens to betraying her national policies.”
Corbyn claims they show talks had taken place on drug pricing and access to NHS contracts.
The user tried to direct further attention towards the leak by posting this image to the worldpolitics subreddit, and posting a link to his original post as a comment.
Two weeks prior to posting the documents, the user created a subreddit titled “ukwhistleblower”. There have been no posts in that subreddit apart from an initial announcement that it had been created.
It will be interesting see whether they start to populate this subreddit in the weeks to come.