Oliver Dowden made multiple false claims at PMQs last week. And now?

Oliver Dowden: if he had done this, he might have suffered less reputational damage than he undoubtedly will after today’s Deputy PMQs fiasco.

As Oliver Dowden commenced on his second Deputy Prime Minister’s Questions in as many Wednesdays, This Writer filed the following opinion:

He has form.

Last week, the website Left Foot Forward devoted an entire article to falsehoods told by Dowden. It stated:

Full Fact, the campaigns team of independent fact checkers, issued two corrections… Firstly, was a claim by Dowden that the NHS waiting lists are ‘coming down’. Whilst some waiting lists, such as patients waiting over 18 months for a treatment, have fallen, the overall number of cases of waiting in England are at a record high.

He repeated this lie today (July 12) – and yes, it is a lie. Last week he could have got away with saying he didn’t know the information was wrong, but now he can’t.

Secondly the fact checkers pulled up on another claim made by Dowden that the government had been ‘cutting taxes’ for national living wage earners by doubling the personal allowance.

Citing a similar claim made by the deputy prime minster last month, where he said minimum wage earners had seen a £1,000 reduction in their tax, the campaign organisation highlighted that on both occasions this was potentially misleading as Dowden failed to make it clear that this was based on a counterfactual estimate.

Whilst minimum wage earners are paying less tax this year than they would have since 2010 if tax thresholds had gone up in line with inflation, that doesn’t mean the amount they pay has actually decreased compared to 2010.

So it’s a load of jargon, and it seems the deputy PM doesn’t understand it. What can we expect? He’s a person of very little brain.

Labour MP Lisa Nandy also took to Twitter to fact check the deputy MP on two points. First was his claim that his government had built more council houses, which she referenced to an article which cites official government data showing how 161,577 social rent homes had been completed since 2010. Compared to 362,912 between 1997 and 2010.

That’s a straightforward falsehood, then.

Next the deputy PM said that, under his government, record numbers of housing had been being built.

Nandy referred to figures this year that showed planning application in England had actually fallen to their lowest level in at least 16 years.

Furthermore, the Home Builders Federation has predicted England’s housebuilding levels will soon fall to their lowest since the second world war.

That’s a straightforward falsehood, then!

To round it off, the Deputy PM was called out during points of order refereeing to a claim he make on the 7th June, when he said the Labour Party’s plan to invest £28 billion in green energy would add £1,000 more to people’s mortgages. Dowden apparently made the claim a day after the Daily Mail reported this figure, but he said it came from treasury analysis.

However, the treasury has admitted that the figure did not come from their analysis and was forced to make the admission that this was not true. The statistics authority was unable to find any official source for the figure after investigation.

So that’s five falsehoods from last week and two (so far) – including one outright lie – from today (July 12, 2023).

How many more will the fact checkers find?

Source: Tory Deputy Leader slammed over multiple false claims during PMQs – Left Foot Forward: Leading the UK’s progressive debate

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