Politics

Viral video showing Boris Johnson misleading parliament reaches 30m views

The ministerial code says 'it is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament and correct any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity', a tenet that has been broken according to lawyer Peter Stefanovic

A viral video that highlights numerous parliamentary claims by Boris Johnson as misleading has  reached a staggering 30 million views on social media. 

The lawyer and campaigner behind the two-minute video, Peter Stefanovic, calls out the prime minister for repeatedly lying on areas such as poverty, climate change and the NHS.  

“People watching it will draw their own conclusions on whether they believe the prime minister is barefaced lying, completely out of touch with what’s actually happening in the country or just doesn’t care whether what he says to Parliament is accurate or not.

“But all three are equally bad and all three amount to serious breaches of the ministerial code,” Stefanovic told The Big Issue. 

“Let’s not forget just how serious breaking the ministerial code is- just recently we saw Scottish Conservatives leader Douglas Ross say Boris Johnson should resign if he was found to have broken the ministerial code,” he added. 

In the video, one of Boris Johnson’s many parliamentary claims is that:  “absolute poverty and relative poverty has declined under the current government”.

Stefanovic debunks this as “another lie”: “Relative poverty has increased from 13.6m in 2010 to 14.5million in 2019.

“His claim about 400,000 fewer families living in poverty, it appears he just made that up,” he adds.

This is not the first time Boris Johnson has been pulled up on misleading figures relating to poverty.  In July, the Office for Statistics Regulation, the official UK watchdog for statistics, issued a formal warning to Downing Street over misleading statements Johnson made in parliament. 

“Over the last year, a number of concerns have been raised to us regarding the Prime Minister’s use of statistics on child poverty and in each case, we have brought this to the attention of the briefing team in No.10,” the letter from Ed Humpherson, director general for regulation at the OSR, read.

“Further concerns were raised to us following Prime Minister’s Questions on 26 May.

“Measuring poverty is complicated and different measures tell different parts of the story.”

“The very foundation of our legal system depends on trust and credibility and that same principle to my mind should apply equally, if not more so, to our political institutions,” Stefanovic said. 

On climate change, the prime minister claimed: “We have cut CO2 emissions in this country since 2010, on 1990 levels, by 42 per cent.” Stefanovic corrected this by outlining that :“CO2 emissions fell by 39 per cent between 1990 and 2018,” according to statistics from the government.  

In the video that aired last August, the prime minister also stated that no country has successfully adopted a track and trace app, however, Stefanovic brandishes this as “another lie” and proceeds to list countries that have been successful including Germany, France and Japan.

Stefanovic also highlighted that the prime minister’s statements regarding the nurses’ bursary being restored was in fact a “lie”. Until 2017 nurses education was covered alongside providing a living cost loan grant until it was  scrapped by the Conservatives. 

The nurses’ bursary Johnson referred to is a £5,000 maintenance grant available but nurses will still be accountable for tens of thousands of tuition fee debt.

The video has been picked up by Sky and ITV’s Good Morning Britain but Peter Stefanovic has criticised the BBC’s failure to comment and stand by its founding principles as a “shameful national embarrassment”.

As the video hit the 30 million milestone, Mr Stefanovic led with the tweet:  ‘Working TOGETHER we have sent a powerful message to UK News shows if they won’t hold this Prime Minister to account for his rampant lying in Parliament we will do it ourselves. 

How long can you ignore it @BBCNews?’

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