Tag Archives: lying

Commons Speaker Lindsay Hoyle tries to justify refusal to change rules on lying. Fails

Hoyle in action: he was probably shouting at someone who dared suggest a government minister was telling a porkie.

What a shame that the House of Commons now has Lindsay Hoyle as its Speaker; a man who would rather turn a blind eye to corruption than tackle it.

If he is really more interested in his own expected peerage than in running a fair and honest chamber – as some have suggested – then he’s part of the problem.

It seems he has appeared on the BBC’s Westminster Hour, trying to justify his refusal to alter Commons rules to make lying to the House more difficult:

“What are we going to do? Are we going to let it deteriorate to that level so every time someone speaks you’re a liar? That’s not a good way of debate, that is not the art of debate. I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘well that’s very easy, you’re lying’. There are ways of exposing that, let’s use the right ways. If you feel that somebody has misled inadvertently, let’s get it on the record… and if you need to hold people to account, do it through a substantive motion. And if you give real answers, you won’t have that problem.”

Shall we go through it slowly?

“What are we going to do? Are we going to let it deteriorate to that level so every time someone speaks you’re a liar? That’s not a good way of debate, that is not the art of debate.”

Nobody has suggested this. It is disengenuous of Hoyle even to suggest it. Why did he not use an example that has happened, such as the moment when one of his deputies threw out Dawn Butler after she pointed out how Boris Johnson had lied to MPs – with examples?

He didn’t mention that because it would have undermined his argument.

” I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘well that’s very easy, you’re lying’.”

Again, nobody has done this. They have simply called for an archaic rule, saying they cannot counter lies immediately, to be removed for the good of the reputation of the House of Commons. Dawn Butler put up her proof and was thrown out, remember.

“If you feel that somebody has misled inadvertently, let’s get it on the record… and if you need to hold people to account, do it through a substantive motion.”

The problem is not with ministers misleading “inadvertently” – it is with outright lies, as Hoyle knows very well. And the problem with making a substantive motion about another MP’s lies is that Hoyle chooses which matters are debated and will pass over a motion about lying, every time.

Won’t he?

It’s time for a vote of “no confidence” in the Speaker of the House of Commons.

The good news is that there is a petition calling on MPs to legislate against lying in Parliament, as discussed on This Site here.

It has reached the 100,000-signature threshold to be considered for debate – and may therefore be considered to be exactly the kind of “substantive motion” that Hoyle said he wanted to see.

And has he approved it for debate? No.

A response to the petition states: “The Government does not intend to introduce legislation of this nature,” and concludes: “The House has determined that how Members conduct themselves in the Chamber, including their adherence to the principles of public life, is a matter for the Speaker, and Parliament is responsible for its own procedures.”

Corrupt.

ADDITIONAL: This writer has submitted a complaint to the BBC about the way it has reported this matter on its website:

“Report was not fair/accurate

“In your article, Commons Speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle: I’ve received death threats, you reported: “Labour MP Dawn Butler was suspended from the Commons in July for claiming Prime Minister Boris Johnson had “lied to the House and the country over and over again” and refusing to withdraw her accusation. “Using such language was “not a good way of debate”, Sir Lindsay said, adding: “That is not the art of debate – I think it’s about proving who’s right and who’s wrong, not taking a simplistic view and saying, ‘Well, that’s very easy. You’re lying.'”” This was not what happened on the day, as your own BBC Politics Twitter account shows here: https://twitter.com/BBCPolitics/status/1418230091201622024 Ms Butler did not simply say Boris Johnson had lied – she provided examples of his falsehoods. In so doing, she met Lindsay Hoyle’s requirement by proving that Mr Johnson had done wrong. Your article is therefore not properly balanced and is unfair to Ms Butler. Please publish a further article, setting this error right. It will not be enough to amend the article you have already published, which should be removed, as people are unlikely to re-read it, having read it already.”

It won’t do any good because the BBC likes to whitewash itself, especially when it is found to have been biased in favour of political corruption.

But it puts the Corporation’s pro-Tory reporters on notice that they’re being watched.

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Will Parliament have the guts to debate this petition to criminalise lying by MPs?

Duper’s delight: This is the smile Boris Johnson wears when he is lying.

One month after Dawn Butler was ejected from Parliament for pointing out – rightly – that prime minister Boris Johnson has lied to MPs “time and time again”, this happens:

A petition calling for dishonesty within the Houses of Parliament to be made a criminal offence has reached the 100,000 signature threshold required for a debate in the House of Commons.

But will the Tory government – whose prime minister is the most prominent liar on the Green Benches – have the guts to host it?

The petition states: “The Government should introduce legislation to make lying in the House of Commons a criminal offence. This would mean that all MPs, including Ministers, would face a serious penalty for knowingly making false statements in the House of Commons, as is the case in a court of law.

“We believe false statements have been made in the House and, although regarded as a “serious offence” in principle, options to challenge this are extremely limited as accusing a member of lying is forbidden in the House.

“Truth in the House of Commons is every bit as important as truth in a court of law and breaches should be treated in a similar way to perjury and carry similar penalties.”

The government has already provided a response, which is mandatory after any petition passes 10,000 signatures: “The Government does not intend to introduce legislation of this nature. MPs must abide by the Code of Conduct and conduct in the Chamber is a matter for the Speaker.

“It is an important principle of the UK Parliament that Members of Parliament are accountable to those who elect them. It is absolutely right that all MPs are fully accountable to their constituents for what they say and do and this is ultimately reflected at the ballot box.”

But MPs are elected only by voters in their constituency – and then go on to disgrace the entire country. We need a mechanism by which anybody – not just local electors – can hold MPs to account and the criminal law should be it. And how, exactly, do constituents hold their representatives accountable?

“Freedom of speech in Parliament is an essential part of our democracy. It is a right that enables Parliament to function freely and fully, ensuring that MPs are able to speak their minds in debates, and to represent their constituents’ views without fear or favour.

“Parliamentary privilege, which includes freedom of speech and the right of both Houses of Parliament to regulate their own affairs, grants certain legal immunities to Members of both Houses to allow them to perform their duties without outside interference.”

Nobody is denying MPs these rights, of course. But freedom of speech is not freedom to lie. And legal immunities do not stretch to immunity from telling the truth.

The simple fact is that, time and time again (as Ms Butler rightly put it), MPs including the prime minister have deliberately and knowingly lied to Parliament and the nation – and they have been allowed to get away with it by a weak regulatory system and a weaker Commons Speaker.

We, the people, require a means by which we may directly hold our representatives to account.

If the petition calling for legislation to install such a means is refused, then Parliament will be admitting that it is corrupt, and that its members should be denied permission to make laws governing the rest of us; they will be demonstrating that they rule for themselves, not the nation.

This Writer would urge you to write to your own MP, demanding they support the demands of the petition and seek the introduction of strong legislation during the next Parliamentary session, to hold all Parliamentarians to account for their lies.

Let’s see how they all try to squirm out of it.

Source: Petition to make lying in parliament a criminal offence passes threshold to be debated by MPs | NationalWorld

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Is this the reason Lancet editor said government advisors were lying on Covid-19?

Dominic Cummings: he can’t give advice on science, so why has he been attending Sage meetings on handling coronavirus?

Dominic Cummings and a data scientist from his Brexit campaign, Vote Leave, have been influencing the scientific group advising the government on coronavirus, it has been revealed.

Is this the reason Lancet editor Richard Horton reckons “supposedly independent medical advisors” have been telling “manifest untruths” – lying – to support a “political regime whose credibility is rapidly collapsing”?

We have already heard that Cummings was involved in a meeting in late January, when Covid-19 was played down as “just a bit of flu”.

He apparently said the UK would be better able to resist a second wave of the disease next winter if 60-80 per cent of the population became infected and the survivors developed “herd immunity”.

Cummings was paraphrased after speaking at a private engagement at the end of February, in which he said the government’s strategy was “herd immunity, protect the economy and if that means some pensioners die, too bad”.

Now The Guardian has claimed that both Cummings and Warner have been taking part in meetings of the group, raising questions about the independence of its scientific advice.

The government’s former chief scientific adviser Sir David King is quoted in the article, saying Cummings may have been reporting his own “interpretation” of Sage advice to Boris Johnson.

Mr Horton wrote in the Lancet criticising Dr Jenny Harries, England’s deputy chief medical officer, at the end of March. She had stated that England had a “perfectly adequate” supply of Personal Protective Equipment.

We all now know that this was not true.

Mr Horton wrote: “I am sure Dr Harries believed what she said. But she was wrong and she should apologise to the thousands of health workers who still have no access to WHO-standard PPE.”

On Sunday, Dr Harries seems to have made matters worse by saying: “The UK, regardless of the position that we may be in now, has been an international exemplar in preparedness.”

It sounds like propaganda.

And what about when government ministers say they have been “following scientific advice”?

If they’ve been getting this advice from Dominic Cummings, then it cannot be considered to have any value at all.

Source: Revealed: Dominic Cummings on secret scientific advisory group for Covid-19 | World news | The Guardian

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Lying DWP facing court action over failure to improve safeguarding after claimant deaths


The one organisation in the UK that regularly gets away with forcing innocent people to their deaths may soon have to account for its behaviour in Parliament – and in a court of law.

Sadly the Parliamentary action is unlikely to make any difference at all; MPs have called for accountability far too many times and all Department for Work and Pensions does is utter meaningless promises to improve its procedures. Then it ignores those promises in order to continue persecuting vulnerable benefit claimants.

The current pressure from the Commons Work and Pensions committee follows last week’s adjournment debate on the deaths of claimants including Errol Graham, who starved to death after the DWP cut of his benefits for no good reason.

Committee chairman Stephen Timms has announced that he will question ministers on their department’s refusal to protect people like Mr Graham and the thousands of others who have died as a result of the cruelty imposed on them by the DWP, on the orders of the Tory government.

He said despite scores of internal inquiries into claimant deaths – many of them as a result of suicide – officials were unable to show that they had done anything at all to improve the safeguarding of vulnerable claimants.

“The idea that people are taking their own life as a result of DWP actions is so awful,” Timms said. “It is unacceptable for the DWP to keep obfuscating. It cannot avoid the subject any longer. This is clearly something serious and it needs to engage and resolve it.”

Mr Timms mentioned the National Audit Office (NAO) report showing that, despite reviewing at least 69 suicides that could have been linked to benefit denials over the last six years, the DWP had not acted on any of the recommendations of those reviews.

The figures in the report did not include cases like that of Mr Graham, in which suicide was not the formal cause of death.

Sadly, the Commons committee is all-too-likely to be fobbed off with the usual protestations from DWP ministers – that they are doing something. They – and/or their forerunners – have made such claims before and got away with it.

We may hope that Mr Graham’s family have more luck with their court action against the Department.

They are claiming that the DWP acted against the law by failing to take all reasonable steps to check on the health of a claimant they knew to be highly vulnerable before removing his only source of income.

Family members are also arguing that secretive investigations and reviews being conducted by the DWP into benefit-related deaths are unlawful and must be reformed.

There is also the question of a promise made by a DWP representative at Mr Graham’s inquest, in order to prevent the coroner from writing a ‘Prevention of Future Deaths’ report, which would have required the DWP to formally explain what steps it was taking to improve its safeguarding policy.

The DWP’s chief psychologist, David Carew, told coroner Elizabeth Didcock that a safeguarding review would report in the autumn of 2019. He said it would urgently consider measures to protect highly vulnerable claimants at risk of having their benefits cut off, including changing safeguarding guidance to staff.

But no such report has been made. There was no review team, no formal commission to publish a review, and staff have received no changes to their guidance.

In short, it seems Mr Carew misled Her Majesty’s Coroner; he lied.

We may hope that a judge will give appropriate weight to all this information.

There are calls for an independent inquiry, with some MPs suggesting that this may restore confidence in the DWP.

This Writer disagrees. As the Labour Party stated in its election manifesto last year, there is no way to restore confidence in a government department that has deceived MPs, the courts and the public in order to ensure a steady stream of benefit-related deaths.

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Johnson caught lying AGAIN: His hospital junket WAS a ‘press opportunity’

Caught lying again: Boris Johnson.

Here’s more damning evidence against Boris Johnson, provided by Swawkbox, about his claim that his visit to the hospital where he was accosted by Omar Salem wasn’t a “press opportunity”.

It’s self-explanatory so I’ll hand you over:

When the angry dad told Johnson he was there on a ‘press opportunity’, Johnson looked him in the eye and said “there’s no press here”.

Johnson even looked at the press cameras as he said it – but now the briefing notes his team supplied to the press before the visit have put the matter beyond doubt.

The notes… not only show that the visit was prepared in advance as exactly a ‘press opportunity’ – but even include a pre-prepared press statement by Johnson:

Source: Briefing note proves Johnson knew full well he was lying about ‘no press’ on hospital visit | The SKWAWKBOX

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Exposed: Torygraph lies about Labour and anti-Semitism

False accusation: Labour Against the Witch-hunt does not claim all claims of anti-Semitism against Labour Party members are false or politically-motivated.

The Torygraph is the latest right-wing newspaper to descend into conspiracy-theory anti-Semitism smears to undermine Labour’s chances in forthcoming elections.

The “newspaper” – if you can call it that – has allowed itself to repeat the conspiracy trope that criticism of Israel must equal anti-Semitism. It doesn’t.

Even hardened campaigners against A-S have affirmed that reasoned criticism of Israeli politics cannot be equated with hatred of all Jews.

We have evidence that, for example, “the “Act.IL” organization, which is coordinated, backed and has been funded by Israel’s so-called Ministry of Strategic Affairs, had used a troll army to spread false information about Jeremy Corbyn – the leader of the UK’s official opposition party”.

So the Telegraph is wrong to suggest this:

“A Labour activist who claimed the Israeli lobby had “manufactured” the party’s anti-Semitism crisis has been selected as a candidate for the European elections, deepening the row over claims of anti-Jewish hatred in the party.

Israel is not Judaism and the Israeli government, in fact, is not representative of the opinions of all Israelis – so it cannot be suggested that the claims suggested here relate to anti-Semitism in any way.

… That’s unless the person making the suggestion has a political interest spreading falsehoods, of course.

Here comes another fake claim:

Martin Mayer, a former member of Labour’s National Executive Committee and a Unite union activist, has been chosen to stand as MEP for Yorkshire & Humber.

The retired transport worker has been active in Labour Against the Witchunt (LAW), a group which claims accusations of anti-Semitism are a ruse to undermine Jeremy Corbyn.

Labour Against the Witch-hunt claims that some accusations of anti-Semitism are false, and have been made to undermine Mr Corbyn and his supporters.

But the omission of that word – “some” – in the article creates an implication that the organisation is saying all such accusations are politically-motivated falsehoods. That is not true.

Mr Mayer’s selection as an MEP candidate is likely to raise questions about the suitability of the candidates being selected by Labour.

It is only likely to raise such questions among people with a vested interest in spreading falsehoods about the Labour Party and anti-Semitism.

It will be interesting to see who puts their head above the parapet. We can start the list with Telegraph reporters Patrick Sawer, Edward Malnick and Hayley Dixon.

Source: Labour activist who claimed Israeli lobby ‘manufactured’ anti-Semitism crisis selected as MEP candidate


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Tories and their media are LYING about Labour MP’s plan for councils to buy private houses

It’s incredible how the lying Tories and their press try to twist information to turn public opinion against good ideas.

The Sun, for example, is trying to push its readers into thinking Labour would “seize” private houses, buying them back into council ownership – and Tories like party deputy chairman James Cleverly are lying that these homes would be bought – not at market value – but at a price of Labour’s choosing.

They are claiming it is a Labour nationalisation scheme.

Drivel!

The newspaper’s article claimed that Labour would demand the mass compulsory purchase of council housing stock that has been sold into the private sector, along with houses that had always been intended for private owners. The facts don’t tally with this claim.

It is based on comments by Corbyn-supporting MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle at an anti-austerity event in London – but it does not directly quote him demanding lower-than-market-value purchases.

Instead, he is quoted as saying: “We need to develop a system that slowly over time takes property out of private hands and puts it into public hands.

“For example, why not give every council the first right of refusal with any houses put up for sale?”

The right of first refusal is not the right to compulsorily buy houses at a value that puts the current owners out-of-pocket.

And it isn’t a right to buy houses that aren’t already on the market.

Finally, this is not a Labour policy – it is an idea put forward by an individual MP.

So, when James Cleverly said, “Your home isn’t safe under Labour,” he was lying:

If you own your own home, you are far more likely to lose it under the Conservatives.

They have allowed the value of mortgages to rise above the ability of most young people – first-time buyers – to support them.

The “Help To Buy” scheme helps the rich – and people who already have homes – more than those for whom it is said to be intended.

And what about those of us who have to rent from private landlords?

Costs have rocketed while standards have plummeted. The Conservatives have ensured that many such dwellings are unfit for human occupation – and have voted down attempts to enforce their improvement.

Changes to the benefit system – the introduction of the Bedroom Tax (for those in social housing) and Universal Credit – mean people on benefits and in low-income employment are finding it hard, and extremely stressful, to maintain their rent payments. Many of them face eviction at least once – some on a regular basis.

Mr Russell-Moyle’s plan would restore the public housing stock – at least in part – without harming the finances of people selling the homes, and without demanding that people who don’t want to be rooted out of their homes should have to. And it would provide secure homes for people on low incomes.

That’s a big difference from the Tory way.

Isn’t it a better way?

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UK government spending watchdog confirms what we already knew: There really is NO BREXIT DIVIDEND

The Leave campaign infamously claimed Brexit would result in a £350m a week dividend for the UK.

This is not news.

We’ve been saying this ever since the stupid ‘Brexit bus’, with its lie that £350 million per week would become available for the NHS, was first rolled out.

And the Institute for Fiscal Studies made it clear that there is no ‘Brexit dividend’, exactly one month ago – as reported by This Site here.

It isn’t even news that known liar Theresa May has used the Leave campaign’s lying ‘Brexit dividend’ claim to lie to the country again. What else are we to expect from a liar?

The Government’s official and independent spending watchdog has confirmed that there will be no “brexit dividend” for the UK, despite the claims of ministers.

Theresa May said last month that the extra £20bn a year pledged to fund the health service would be partially paid for by UK money no longer being sent to the European Union.

That claim was universally slammed by economists as grossly misleading, since the Government’s own projections suggest Brexit is already weakening the public finances, rather than strengthening them and that any fiscal gains from zero EU payments will be wiped out by feebler tax revenues.

The Government has also already earmarked much of those net £13.3bn a year EU budget payments for other major spending items such as support for farmers and science.

And on Tuesday the Office for Budget Responsibility, established in 2010 to provide authoritative and independent fiscal forecasts for the Government, confirmed that no Brexit boost for the public finances is expected.

“Our provisional analysis suggests Brexit is more likely to weaken than strengthen the public finances overall,” the OBR said in its latest Fiscal Sustainability Report.

Source: ‘Brexit dividend’ for health service a myth, Government’s official spending watchdog confirms | The Independent

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Double miracle as BOTH Skripals are now said to be recovering from deadly nerve agent attack. How?

Caught lying: Theresa May and Boris Johnson.

Isn’t it interesting that, despite allegedly being clobbered by a nerve agent that should leave them seriously ill for the rest of their tragically-shortened lives, both Yulia and now Sergei Skripal are said to be on the mend?

Russian news agencies have released a transcript of a telephone conversation they allege took place between Ms Skripal and her cousin Viktoria, earlier today (April 5). According to BBC News, it runs as follows:

Viktoria: Hello?

Alleged Yulia: Hello. Do you hear me?

Viktoria: Yes, I hear you.

Alleged Yulia: It is Yulia Skripal.

Viktoria: Oh, Yulka [diminutive of Yulia] it is you! I recognise from your voice that it is you but cannot understand. So, they gave you a telephone, didn’t they?

Alleged Yulia: Yes, yes.

Viktoria: Thanks God! Yulyash [diminutive of Yulia], is everything okay with you?

Alleged Yulia: Everything is ok, everything is fine.

Viktoria: Look, if tomorrow I get a (British) visa, I will come to you on Monday.

Alleged Yulia: Vika, no-one will give you the visa.

Viktoria: Well I thought so too. Oh well.

Alleged Yulia: Most likely.

Viktoria: If they give it, I need you to tell me whether I can visit you or not, tell me that I can.

Alleged Yulia: I think no, there is such a situation now, we’ll sort it out later.

Viktoria: I know it, I know it all.

Alleged Yulia: Later, we will get it sorted later, everything’s fine, we’ll see later.

Viktoria: Is it your phone?

Alleged Yulia: It is a temporary phone. Everything is fine, but we’ll see how it goes, we’ll decide later. You know what the situation is here. Everything is fine, everything is solvable, everyone (he and her father) is recovering and is alive.

Viktoria: Clear! Is everything ok with your father?

Alleged Yulia: Everything is ok. He is resting now, having a sleep. Everyone’s health is fine, there are no irreparable things. I will be discharged soon. Everything is ok.

Viktoria: Kisses, my bunny.

Alleged Yulia: Bye.

The Metropolitan police has released a statement from Yulia, apparently in response to the Russian television report – but it does not mention the telephone conversation. The Guardian reported it as follows:

“I woke up over a week ago now and am glad to say my strength is growing daily,” she is reported as saying in the statement. “I am grateful for the interest in me and for the many messages of goodwill that I have received.

“I have many people to thank for my recovery and would especially like to mention the people of Salisbury that came to my aid when my father and I were incapacitated. Further than that, I would like to thank the staff at Salisbury District Hospital for their care and professionalism.

“I am sure you appreciate that the entire episode is somewhat disorientating, and I hope that you’ll respect my privacy and that of my family during the period of my convalescence.”

Note that she does say “when my father and I were incapacitated” [bolding mine]. Does this indicate an admission that he isn’t incapacitated any more?

The paper reported that, “If Mr Skripal is “fine”, it will be a remarkable turnaround from the previous detailed prognosis that emerged.

“A high court judgement related to the case and published following a hearing across 20, 21 and 22 March revealed that both Skripals were heavily sedated.

“’The precise effect of their exposure on their long-term health remains unclear, albeit medical tests indicate that their mental capacity might be compromised to an unknown and so far unascertained degree,’ the judgment said.”

Blogger and former ambassador to Uzbekistan, Craig Murray, whose observations on the case have been far more reliable than those of the UK government, had this to say:

I have just listened to the released alleged phone conversation between Yulia Skripal in Salisbury Hospital and her cousin Viktoria, which deepens the mystery further. I should say that in Russian the conversation sounds perfectly natural to me. My concern is after the 30 seconds mark where Viktoria tells Yulia she is applying for a British visa to come and see Yulia.

Yulia replies “nobody will give you a visa”. Viktoria then tells Yulia that if she is asked if she wants Viktoria to visit, she should say yes. Yulia’s reply to this is along the lines of “that situation will not happen”, meaning she would not be allowed by the British to see Viktoria. I apologise my Russian is very rusty for a Kremlinbot, and someone might give a better translation, but this key response from Yulia is missing from all the transcripts I have seen.

What is there about Yulia’s situation that makes her feel a meeting between her and her cousin will be prevented by the British government? And why would Yulia believe the British government will not give her cousin a visa in the circumstance of these extreme family illnesses?

Looking at the transcript, it seems likely that he is making an alternative translation of the part where Yulia Skripal states: “I think no, there is such a situation now, we’ll sort it out later.”

It seems clear, either way, that she is saying the UK authorities will not allow anybody from Russia to visit the Skripals. Mr Murray is, therefore, justified in asking why.

It is just one of many questions about the UK government’s behaviour that Theresa May and her Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson need to answer – but they seem resolutely silent.

Labour MP Chris Williamson appeared on Russia Today to confirm what This Site stated yesterday – that the UK’s international reputation is in tatters after the Tories made such a huge mess of the Salisbury poisoning affair:

His words about Mr Johnson, in particular, were supported by these commenters to The Guardian:

 This has arguably been Boris Johnson’s first real, serious test as the UK’s leading diplomat, and he has failed it spectacularly. In normal times, what we have seen over the last few weeks would be more than enough to sack him.

YorkerBouncer

They made accusations which they have not yet been able to adequately back up with facts and evidence, which just makes them look incredibly foolish and incompetent. Truly embarrassing for the UK.

nemossister

Finally, there is the small fact that Mrs May and Mr Johnson have both broken the Ministerial Code.

At section 1.3.a, the Code states: “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity. Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”

It seems that both Mr Johnson and Mrs May have knowingly misled Parliament.

When may we expect their resignations?


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Zac and Sarah don’t exist – why should we believe anything from the DWP?

'Sarah' - she doesn't exist and her story is a fake.

‘Sarah’ – she doesn’t exist and her story is a fake.

How can we trust the Department for Work and Pensions’ figures on incapacity benefit claimants’ deaths when we’ve had scandal after scandal from it over falsified evidence?

The Department for Work and Pensions has been caught out in another lie – this time over the existence of people in two fake ‘case studies’ used to promote its cruel, unfair and vindictive sanctions regime.

‘Sarah’ was quoted praising the DWP for threatening to withdraw benefits if she refused to complete her CV, while ‘Zac’ praised the new benefit rules, which had allowed him to continue receiving his money because he had offered proof of a hospital appointment.

'Zac' - he doesn't exist either and his story has also been faked by the DWP.

‘Zac’ – he doesn’t exist either and his story has also been faked by the DWP.

There’s only one problem – neither ‘Sarah’ nor ‘Zac’ exist.

The woman posing as ‘Sarah’ was also pictured in another government blog, The Daily Job Seeker, which offers advice on interview tips along with techniques and information about Universal Credit.

The DWP has been forced to admit that their comments were among a series of quotes on leaflets that were “fabricated” for “illustrative purposes”. All references to ‘Zac’ and ‘Sarah’ have now been removed from the various DWP information outlets.

The revelation that the DWP has been lying about its policies, using fake identities, has aroused yet another storm of protest against the Department and its Secretary of State, Iain Duncan Smith, the former Army bag-carrier who, This Blog maintains, should be removed from office as SNLR – ‘Services No Longer Required’.

It seems the DWP is claiming this blockhead had no knowledge of the deception, but it is impossible to accept this claim. The fictional accounts are intended to justify his failing policies and it is impossible to believe that civil servants would have created them if he had not demanded it.

Labour leadership frontrunner Jeremy Corbyn was quoted saying: “It is a damning indictment that civil servants are now being forced to make up quotes to cover for the failed political agendas of ministers, after the numerous debacles of Universal Credit, the work capability assessment, and the delays facing disabled people trying to get personal independence payments.”

Further embarrassment is in store for the DWP, after the industry body responsible for regulating the behaviour of organisations producing public relations material, the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), launched an investigation into whether any of its members were involved.

CIPR president Sarah Pinch said: “Falsely creating the impression of independent, popular support is a naive and opaque technique which blatantly disregards the CIPR’s standards of ethical conduct. It is deeply disappointing if public relations professionals allowed it to be published.”

“A naïve and opaque technique which blatantly disregards… standards of ethical conduct.”

Let’s look at the DWP’s planned publication of Age-Standardised Mortality Rates for claimants of benefits including Incapacity Benefit, Employment and Support Allowance, and Several Disablement Allowance.

Firstly, we must ask why these figures are being prepared by the Department for Work and Pensions, and not by the Office for National Statistics (the organisation that has produced other age-standardised figures for the UK Government). Why?

The DWP and its representatives in Parliament have claimed that the creation of ASMRs has been undertaken by the Department, in order to meet “the high standards expected” by the UK Statistics Authority. Has anybody seen evidence that the UKSA has made any such demand?

Considering the ASMRs themselves, they provide a rate of deaths, per a certain number of the population, in comparison with the death rate among the population as a whole. It seems they are primarily used to predict future deaths. But the number of people on ESA is constantly fluctuating, meaning that a ‘standardised’ rate will be misleading – especially as we are led to believe the figures used will cover a 10-year period between 2004 and 2014.

Even if the DWP publishes a year-by-year analysis, the death rate per, say, 1,000 will not tell the whole story as a lower ratio in a year when more people were claiming may mask a higher number of deaths.

And that’s if the DWP is using reliable figures in the first place!

The only way to have factual accuracy from this lying tool of Conservative Party ideology is to have the data on which it is based – the genuine numbers of people who have died.

That’s what the Tribunal hearing on benefit-related deaths is all about.

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