Fabricated by emigre Russians in league with the German and British intelligence services, the forgery helped stop the re-election of a Labour government.

In 1960, John F Kennedy won the US presidential election with a media campaign that attacked a non-existent 'missile gap' between US and Soviet nuclear forces. 

But now, Mr Johnson warned, the charge of 'fake news' is being used by lying right-wing politicians and media monopolies to discredit not only their rivals but also investigative journalism which exposes state secrecy and big business corruption.

'The label is increasingly being pinned on Wikileaks, the Paradise Papers, TV channels such as RT and the social media generally which dare to challenge imperialist foreign policy and super-rich tax fraud', the Communist Party's London district secretary declared.

'This labelling is the prelude to greater censorship of news and views that don't fit into the framework established by the billionaire media on behalf of monopoly capitalism', Mr Johnson feared.

Meanwhile, the torrent of 'fake news' designed to justify imperialist intervention in Syria, undermine support for Brexit, discredit supporters of the Labour Party leadership and divert attention from the scale of corporate corruption continues unabated.

The Communist Party's political committee agreed that these developments underlined the value of the Morning Star as 'the only daily paper which honestly reports news and views that challenge capitalism and imperialism'. The committee looked forward to the launch of the Star's planned online and rolling news initiatives, urging trade union and left-wing organisations to step up their financial support for the paper.

Britain's Communists also expressed their growing concerns about new war dangers in the Middle East.

'In addition to Western-backed, Saudi Arabian-led barbarism in Yemen and the ongoing drive to fragment Syria and Iraq, the US and its Saudi and Israeli allies - with British support - are preparing fresh acts of provocation and aggression against Lebanon and Iran', the CP international secretary John Foster warned.

The long history of British, French and US imperialism's intervention in the region to control resources and transport routes had inflicted colossal death and destruction on its peoples, Mr Foster pointed out.