Boris Johnson has repeated a false claim about employment for the ninth time – despite admitting he knows it’s incorrect.
During Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday, Johnson claimed there are “record numbers of people now back in work, productivity back above what it was. More than half a million people back on the payroll than there were before the pandemic began.”
But weeks earlier, while appearing before the Liaison Committee, he acknowledged it was wrong of him to make the claim about overall employment figures. There are more people on payrolls, but the large drop in the number of people who are self-employed means total employment is down.
Johnson has now made the false claim nine times, with fact-checking organisation Full Fact stating “There are *not* more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began. There are half a million fewer.”
The official statistics watchdog has already written to Johnson – twice – urging him to stop repeating the “misleading” claim in parliament.
Stephen Timms, Labour MP for East Ham, asked the prime minister at the Liaison Committee, which exists to scrutinise the government, whether he accepted the correction made in the letter, sent by Sir David Norgrove, chair of the Office for Statistics Regulation.