LONDON: Former British Prime Minister Boris Johnson appeared to have been cut out of a rocket launch photo tweeted, Sunday, by Business Secretary Grant Shapps.
The photo, which showed Shapps when he was transport secretary, was taken at Spaceport Cornwall during the attempt to launch a rocket into orbit from UK soil for the first time, reported The Times.
In his tweet, Shapps wrote that the government was “delighted to be backing” the launch.
The original photo taken in June, however, also included Johnson, who was prime minister at the time.
In the photo, which has been deleted, Johnson seems to have been clumsily edited out, with his right elbow still partially visible.
The body of the LauncherOne vehicle also looks blurred.
The original photo, which, according to The Times, is still on the No. 10 Flickr account, shows Johnson with his brow furrowed and arm raised, wearing a jacket emblazoned with the words “prime minister.”
A source close to Shapps said: “Grant wasn’t aware anyone had edited the picture. He removed it as soon as it was pointed out.
“Obviously he wouldn’t endorse anyone rewriting history by removing the former PM from a picture. He was proud to serve in (Johnson’s) government.”
The UK’s first-ever space mission failed on Tuesday morning after suffering an “anomaly” during the flight. After taking off from Cornwall, the Virgin Orbit plane flew to 35,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, where it jettisoned the rocket containing nine small satellites toward space.