Boris Johnson originally planned to congratulate Donald Trump on winning the US election, a botched Downing Street Photoshop edit of his message to president-elect Joe Biden has shown.
Shortly after Biden was declared the winner of the election on Saturday last week, Number 10’s official Twitter account posted an image of the prime minister’s statement congratulating the Democratic candidate.
But beneath the congratulatory message the faint outline of a different statement, instead welcoming a Donald Trump victory is visible.
Analysis by Guido Fawkes suggests the words that can be made out are “Trump on his”, “second term” and “on the future of this”.
A government spokesperson later confirmed there had been a “technical error” and said parts of a different message had been “embedded in the background” of the intended one.
"As you'd expect, two statements were prepared in advance for the outcome of this closely contested election,” the government spokesperson said on Tuesday.
"A technical error meant that parts of the alternative message were embedded in the background of the graphic."
While Yahoo News UK has tried to replicate the error, we have so far been unable to.
However, it seems possible it was either a mistake with Photoshop layers or that whoever was handed the task of creating the message was not given the initial psd file, and was instead handed a jpg file and forced to make the best of it.
The mistake will likely cause further friction with the incoming Biden administration, since the president-elect has previously been critical of Brexit.
Downing Street has played down concerns about the potentially difficult relationship it will have with the Biden government.
Asked if it was a worry that the UK may not be the among the first nations Biden will speak to, the prime minister’s official spokesman said: “No, that’s not something that we’re concerned about.”
Johnson has never met Biden, who has previously described him as a “physical and emotional clone” of Trump.
Watch: Boris Johnson welcomes Joe Biden election win
Allies of Biden, who was Barack Obama’s vice-president, have also not forgiven Johnson for highlighting the first African-American president’s “part-Kenyan” heritage, claiming it had given him an “ancestral dislike of the British empire”.
Despite previously criticism, Johnson said on Monday he believes Biden’s US election victory offers hope of progress in tackling climate change and could help secure the Nato alliance
In an effort to demonstrate where their interests align, Johnson hailed the “exciting” change in approach that a Biden administration will represent on key international issues.
At a Downing Street press conference, Johnson said: “This country’s had a good relationship with the White House over the last few years but it’s had a good relationship with the White House for many, many years.
“And I’ve no doubt that we will continue to have a very, very strong, very close relationship with our American friends.”
The prime minister refused to say Trump should concede defeat, as the US president continued to fight legal battles in his effort to retain the keys to the White House.
“I don’t wish to offer any other commentary on the US election, our friends in America have their processes, it’s not for me to offer commentary on it,” he said, but added: “I clearly want to congratulate president-elect Biden.”
Watch: What does a Joe Biden presidency in the US mean for the global economy?