Conservatives caught out bending Wikipedia facts

Wikipedia is being used by the Conservative Party in a dispute between the leader David Cameron and the Prime Minister.


A Conservative party member changed a Wikipedia entry on Titian, to settle a bizare dispute between Tory leader David Cameron and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

The argument was sparked last month when Brown was mocked after comparing himself to the Italian artist during a speech about the credit crunch in the House of Commons this week

Brown said: "I'm reminded of the story of Titian, the great painter who reached the age of 90, finished the last of his nearly 100 brilliant paintings, and he said at the end of it, 'I'm finally beginning to learn how to paint,' and that is where we are."

However Cameron disputed Brown's claims, telling the House: "You told us the other day you were like Titian aged 90. The fact is Titian died at 86.".

According to the BBC, at the time of Cameron's comments, the entry about Titian on Wikipedia said the artist was 91 when he died. However, within minutes, Titian's date of death was altered from 27 August 1576 to 27 August 1572, to back-up Cameron's claims. The web user that updated the entry had an IP address registered to the Conservative headquarters in London.

Cameron has apologised and blamed "an over-eager member of staff" for editing the entry on Wikipedia.

But Cameron insisted he was right that the painter died at 86, rather than living to 90 as the Prime Minister claimed.

"The person at central office who then altered the Wikipedia entry - putting on the correct information, because I think Titian did die at 86, there's some dispute among academics - but nevertheless that was the wrong thing to do. He shouldn't have done that, he has been disciplined for doing that."

The Wikipedia article has been altered a number of times since the Conservative's amendment, as academics have never agreed on how old the artist actually was when he died.

Related articles:

Tories do not understand the risks of open-source

"Recommended For You"

Opposition MPs warn on 'piecemeal' data protection changes A guide to the crisis in the NHS national IT programme