Fact-checking organisation Full Fact has shown that Dawn Butler was right – and Boris Johnson has consistently given false information to Parliament and the UK.
It cannot say whether Johnson intended to lie, because that depends on the circumstances in which his claims were made.
But it says the Ministerial Code demands that government ministers, including the prime minister, correct any error – including inadvertent errors – at the earliest opportunity. And Boris Johnson has not corrected any of the errors checked by Full Fact.
Ms Butler said:
“The Prime Minister said the economy is growing by 73%. It’s just not true.”
And Full Fact confirmed that the claim was false.
“[Boris Johnson says he] reinstated nurses’ bursary. Just not true.”
Again, Ms Butler was proved correct: “Mr Johnson’s government has reintroduced a system in which all student nurses receive a non-repayable grant from the government, but it does not pay their tuition fees on their behalf, which was the system when the old bursary applied.”
“[Boris Johnson said] there wasn’t an app [for Covid-19 contact tracing] working anywhere in the world. Just isn’t true.”
Quite right: “There is now some evidence that contact-tracing apps have been effective to some extent in several countries, including the UK.”
“[Boris Johnson said the] Tories invested £34bn in the NHS. Not true.”
Again, she was correct: “This figure does not account for inflation, which tends to make the actual value of a sum of money diminish over time. If you do account for inflation, which is the fairest way to compare sums of money across time, then the ‘real terms’ value of the spending increase was £20.5 billion.
“Nor is this spending increase a ‘record’. The last time NHS spending rose by at least this much in real terms was between 2004/05 and 2009/10.”
“The Prime Minister said we have severed the link between infection and serious disease and death. Not only is this not true, Madam Deputy Speaker, but it’s dangerous.”
For this, Dawn Butler was ordered to leave the House of Commons?
Isn’t it true that, under the same Ministerial Code that Johnson has broken, “time and time again”, by failing to correct the record, ministers who act as he has should be expelled from Parliament? (I’ll help you out there: it is.)
It seems that the Speaker’s Office, which is supposed to uphold Parliamentary standards – that’s the apparent reason for Ms Butler’s ejection – has been remiss in its duties.
I wrote to Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle about this on Friday (July 23), and I feel no reluctance to share the correspondence with you because I had previously written to him about lies by Tory minister Victoria Atkins and he has failed to respond. Perhaps this will encourage him.
My letter reads:
You have a serious problem here, and it is Parliamentary rules that are to blame.Yesterday (July 22), Acting Deputy Speaker Judith Cummins ordered Dawn Butler to leave the Commons Chamber because she – rightly – pointed out that prime minister Boris Johnson has lied to Parliament and to the country “time and time again”.Ms Butler pointed out at the time that “we get in trouble in this place for calling out the lie, rather than the person lying” – and she was absolutely correct.Evidence of Mr Johnson’s lies is widely available. I understand that Parliament has a rule against misleading Parliament that requires the member who does so to be expelled. This has not been applied to Mr Johnson. Is this because MPs are banned from pointing out that he has lied continually since become an MP?I am aware that rules governing behaviour in the House of Commons require that MPs must not accuse other members of lying. Was this rule specifically drafted in order to protect liars? If not, then why has it been used in that way? Why is the Speaker’s Office permitting it to be used in that way?This has happened at a time when dishonesty by government MPs is not only widespread; it is epidemic. Parliament’s rules are clearly not fit for purpose while they are allowed to get away with lying to MPs and to the public, again and again.As the person with ultimate responsibility for MPs’ behaviour, it is the Speaker’s duty to ensure that everything said by MPs is honest – and that dishonesty is punished. It is not the Speaker’s job to punish people for highlighting dishonesty when it is found. Ms Cummins’ behaviour yesterday must not be repeated when Parliament resumes after the summer recess.I am therefore writing to urge you to spend the summer recess considering ways to reform the rules, in order to ensure that a mechanism exists, within Parliament, to punish any MP for uttering falsehoods in Parliament – and to ensure that MPs who highlight these falsehoods are not punished for doing so. They are acting in the best interests of the nation.
No response as yet. Is Sir Lindsay keeping his head in the sand because he wants a place in the House of Lords (that his immediate forerunner didn’t get)?
Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.
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