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Video exposing Boris Johnson’s ‘lies’ to Parliament hits 20 million views

Boris Johnson has made several claims in Parliament that simply are not true, according to a viral video uploaded by lawyer Peter Stefanovic.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson visits Colchester Hospital the day after Dominic Cummings made accusations of widespread lying in his cabinet. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street

A viral video highlighting numerous claims made by Boris Johnson during his time in office, both in Parliament and to the media, has now surpassed 20 million views on social media. 

The two-minute video created by lawyer and campaigner Peter Stefanovic features claims from Johnson on areas including climate change, poverty and the NHS, each of which are debunked by Stefanovic as “another lie.”

As Johnson claims: “We have cut CO2 emissions in this country since 2010, on 1990 levels, by 42 per cent.” Stefanovic fact checks : “CO2 emissions fell by 39 per cent between 1990 and 2018,” figures that correspond to the Government’s own data. 

The UK has a current target of reaching net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

In response to the video, a No.10 spokesperson said: “The Prime Minister follows the Ministerial Code, which includes the Nolan principles, when conducting himself in public life.”

The Nolan principles are seven principles coined in 1995 setting out ethical standards for public figures. Accountability, openness and honesty are among them.

The video was first posted online in August 2020 but hit 10 million views in April this year, meaning it has doubled in the last month alone during a time when leading government figures are under increasing scrutiny for their management of the pandemic.

Stefanovic said: “Thousands of people have come together to share the film as a way of voicing their protest and say ‘Yes’ we do care about dishonesty in politics. Getting the film seen that many times would not have been possible without people caring enough about this issue to share it.”

It hit the 20 million milestone on the same day Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s former special adviser, gave evidence in Parliament accusing Health Secretary Matt Hancock of lying to senior figures on more than one occasion across the course of the pandemic. 

Johnson’s reputation is already under strain following Cummings’ allegations that the PM was not a “fit and proper person” to lead the country through the pandemic. 

“The allegations made by Dominic Cummings, as shocking as they are, come as absolutely no surprise,” Stefanovic added.

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The video highlights several claims made by Johnson concerning the pandemic. In one example, Johnson claimed in parliament on June 24 that there was nowhere in the world successfully using a track-and-trace app. In the video, Stefanovic goes on to list several countries using them at that time, including France and Germany.

Stefanovic also pointed to Johnson’s claim that the government had restored the nurses’ bursary, which was withdrawn by the Conservatives in 2017. Nurses previously had their tuition fees paid for as well as a grant to cover living costs. As of September 2020, all nurses receive £5,000 which they will not need to pay back, but are still liable for more than £20,000 in tuition fee debt. The change was widely blamed for the NHS recruitment crisis before the pandemic struck.

As for the statistic made by Johnson in Prime Minister’s Questions, that there were 400,000 fewer families living in poverty thanks to the current government, Stefanovic responds: “it appears he just made that up”. Having been fact checked by the Children’s Commissioner, the statistic does not align with official figures.

The prime minister’s relationship with the truth has been a constant question throughout his career. Early in his career he was fired as a journalist for The Times after making up quotes and sacked from the shadow cabinet in 2004 after he lied about having an affair.

For Stefanovic: “[The Prime Minister] has persistently flouted and broken the ministerial code by making misleading statements to Parliament and then steadfastly refusing to correct them. It appears that having discovered the Speaker is powerless to stop him he’s just been emboldened to continue. It’s got to be stopped.”