Boris Johnson jumps out of Grant Shapps’ spaceport painting

Business Secretary Grant Shapps appears to have fired Boris Johnson for a photo promoting the failed Virgin Orbit flight Monday night.

Shapps shared on Twitter a photo of himself and two officials in front of a Virgin rocket at the spaceport in Newquay, Cornwall, ahead of Monday’s launch.

However, keen-eyed users noticed that former prime minister Mr. Johnson was featured in the original snap, which remained on Flickr account #10 dated June 9, 2021. This snap was previously shared by Virgin Orbit.

Mr Shapps has since deleted the tweet that read, “The UK government is delighted to support the FIRST satellite launch ever from European soil”.

Part of former Prime Minister's arm can be seen in photo (UK government)

Part of former Prime Minister’s arm can be seen in photo (UK government)

Some Twitter users mocked the blunder, and one asked: “Can he? [Mr Johnson] Will it be erased from history as well?” Another took aim at Mr Johnson’s editing skills in the photo, which seemed to have left part of his elbow behind.

Grant left part of Johnson’s elbow. Messy, they said. “I’m in favor of deleting Boris Johnson,” said another.

Shapps served as transportation secretary under Johnson, who was fired after a string of scandals last summer.

Boris Johnson stepped down last summer (PA Wire)

Boris Johnson stepped down last summer (PA Wire)

He was among a number of lawmakers calling for Mr Johnson to step down after several ministers resigned in July to protest the way the then Prime Minister had handled the Chris Pincher affair.

A source close to Mr Shapps said: “Grant was unaware that anyone had edited the picture. He removed it as soon as it was pointed out.

“Obviously he would not approve of rewriting history by removing the former prime minister from a picture. Boris was proud to serve in his government.”

The Virgin Orbit plane’s attempt to launch at night on Monday failed after the plane experienced an in-flight “anomaly”.

After taking off from Cornwall, the Virgin Orbit plane flew 35,000 feet over the Atlantic Ocean, where it launched the rocket containing nine small satellites into space.

The organizers of the Start Me Up mission said the rocket, which has a variety of civil and defense applications, did not go into orbit.

After the launch failed, Shapps told Sky News: “Space is tough. Everyone is used to seeing rockets exploding from Japan, what’s wrong with you?”

“The great thing about this technology is that no one gets hurt. The pilots are back on the plane.

“It didn’t work out. I have no doubt they’ll pick themselves up, dust off, and go again when they find out exactly what went wrong.”

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