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Friday, July 31, 2020

Boris Johnson reprimanded for misleading Parliament

For a politician who had built his career on misleading people and disseminating false information as 'facts', it is surprising that Boris Johnson has not fallen foul of the parliamentary authorities and public sector watchdogs more often.

The Prime Minister's support of bus-based lies about the EU effectively secured him the top job, and yet people continue to vote for him and sustain him in that position, as if he were some sort of unchallengeable enigma. We are all waiting for the truth to finally catch up with him and cast him back into the journalistic wilderness.

The Independent reports on one instance where Johnson's cavalier approach to statistics has come back to bite him. They say that he has been reprimanded by the UK's statistics watchdog for repeatedly making inaccurate and misleading claims about the government's record on child poverty.

The Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) said figures used by the prime minister were incorrect after he claimed a huge fall 400,000 fall in the number of families of children in poverty since 2010:

After being contacted by a coalition of poverty charities the OSR said the figures were incorrect wrote an article explaining how poverty was measured to "bring to the attention of the team that prepares briefing for prime minister's questions".

The prime minister had made the claims in prime minister's questions in parliament on 17 Jun and 24 June and during an interview with the BBC on 1 December last year.

The watchdog was responding to a complaint by the End Child Poverty Coalition that the prime minister had three times used official poverty data “selectively, inaccurately and, ultimately, misleadingly”.

“There is no wrong measure, but there is a wrong way of using the available measures – and that is to pick and choose which statistics to use based on what best suits the argument you happen to be making," the blogpost says.

Somehow, I doubt if this rap on the knuckles will lead to a behaviour change.
There was a time when MPs, and especially Her Majesty's ministers, were understood to be Good Chaps who never knowingly told a lie in Parliament.
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