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Thursday, July 29, 2021

The lies and untruths of Boris Johnson

With a Labour MP evicted from the House of Commons for calling the Prime Minister a liar, the focus has fallen back onto some of the more infamous untruths that have passed the Boris Johnson's lips.

It is worth therefore harking back to this article in the Independent from May 2019 which lists seven of his most notorious, ranging from incorrect 14th century history to the EU banana police. They point out that Boris Johnson’s flirtation with dishonesty has cost him at least three jobs and damaged his standing with the people of Liverpool and London.

The first is when he was sacked from his job at The Times newspaper over allegations he fabricated a quote from his godfather, the historian Colin Lucas, for a front-page article about the discovery of Edward II’s Rose Palace. Notoriously, on moving to The Daily Telegraph, wnere he worked as the publication's Brussels correspondent between 1989 and 1994, he made his reputation with a series of articles about mostly made-up abuses:

His articles, like those in several other Eurosceptic newspapers, contained many of the claims widely described as “Euromyths”, including plans to introduce same-size “eurocoffins”, establish a “banana police force” to regulate the shape of the curved yellow fruit, and ban prawn cocktail crisps. When questioned about them in parliament, he denied suggestions they were a figment of his imagination.

Johnson was sacked as party vice-chairman and shadow arts minister in November 2004 after assuring Michael Howard that tabloid reports of his affair with Spectator columnist Petronella Wyatt were false and an “inverted pyramid of piffle”. When the story was found to be true, he refused to resign.

Most damagingly were the lies told during the 2016 referendum campaign:

Launching the Vote Leave bus tour, Mr Johnson returned to the scene of his earlier falsehoods by repeating his old allegations that the EU was setting rules on the shape of bananas.

He also backed the infamous claim on the side of the bus that the UK was sending £350m a week to the EU, followed by “let’s fund our NHS instead”.

The UK Statistics Authority issued an official statement in May 2016 describing the claim as “misleading”, but Mr Johnson repeated it in an article in the Telegraph in September 2017.

The article has since been taken down and Mr Johnson is facing a private prosecution over claims he deliberately lied during the campaign.

The MP's lawyer told a court: “I should make it clear that because of the interest in this case that it is absolutely denied by Mr Johnson that he acted in an improper or dishonest manner at any time.”

In January Boris Johnson claimed he did not mention Turkey during the referendum after it was suggested he falsely claimed 80 million Turks would come to Britain unless the UK left the EU.

In fact, he co-signed a letter stating that “the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote Leave and take back control”. The Vote Leave campaign also produced a poster reading: “Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU”, adding “David Cameron wants Turkey to join the EU. How will our NHS cope?”.

Mr Johnson, whose great-grandfather was the Ottoman politican Ali Kemal, was also quoted as saying “I am very pro-Turkish but what I certainly can’t imagine is a situation in which 77 million of my fellow Turks and those of Turkish origin can come here without any checks at all. That is mad – that won’t work.”

Mr Johnson’s Turkish cousin commented: “He doesn’t strike me as being very honest about his views.”

Perhaps there is a strong case to abandon the age-long tradition of MPs being forbidden from calling other members liars.
On that Private Prosecution, Peter.

If this is Balls vs Johnson I thought it was rejected by the High Court in 2019.


Is there another one?
I agree.
Ferdinand, it is the same one. You will note that I state at the head of the post that the article I am referring to is over two years old
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