Boris Johnson's congratulations message to Joe Biden was second-hand... only slightly used.
The UK Prime Minister was caught out in an embarrassing and downright bizarre gaffe when Twitter users noticed his congratulatory tweet appeared to have been crudely pasted over one addressed to President Trump.
On November 7, the Conservatives leader posted an image bearing the text: "Congratulations to Joe Biden on his election as President of the United States and to Kamala Harris on her historic achievement. The US is our most important ally and I look forward to working closely together on our shared priorities, from climate change to trade and security," signing it: Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
However, eagle-eyed Twitter users noticed that there appeared to be the faint remnants of text in the background; downloading the image and adjusting the color and contrast revealed that the message was originally meant for Donald Trump.
The words "Trump on his", "second term" and "for the future of this" can clearly be read in the original message, which bore much smaller font — suggesting Boris's message to Donald was much more detailed.
Many people simply refused to believe the grabs were real, until they downloaded the picture to Photoshop and saw for themselves; simply using the magic wand tool snares the errant text.
To illustrate just how much longer the original message must have been - with the same line spacing, you can get three whole lines between "second term" and "for the future of this". pic.twitter.com/ciLvTnpXgq
Besides laughing at the mortifying error, Twitter could not get its head around why the social media team couldn't just write a new message, instead of pasting over the old one.
"Took 10 seconds to fix that. Can I be the government graphic designer instead? :)" one user pitched.
"So....... backed the wrong horse, and then couldn't even open a new document, huh?" another wondered.
"Aide: We've prepared a statement congratulating Trump but it's not looking good - shall we make a new one for Biden?" a third jibed. "Boris Johnson: No, just go over that one on MS Paint, no-one will notice..."
In a statement, the UK government admitted the slip up, blaming a "technical error".
"As you'd expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election," it said.
"A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic."