I was recently confronted by a member of the far right who believes Boris Johnson doesn’t lie (I know – they walk among us). I do know plenty of right wingers who know he lies but justify this with comments such as “all politicians lie”. I can’t really argue with that – but for posterity I thought I’d append here some quick research I did on some of Johnson’s more obvious whoppers (when I mentioned these to the far righter, he went very quiet). Tumbleweed …
- “There was a (baby boom) after the Olympics, as I prophesied in a speech in 2012. It was quite amazing. There was a big baby boom” (Interviewed by The Sunday Times)
In 2012, the year of the Olympics and Johnson’s speech, there were 730,000 births in England and Wales. In 2013, when the results of Olympic-inspired coition appeared, there were only 699,000. The year-on-year fall of over 4 percent was actually the greatest in 38 years.
- ““We’re upgrading 20 hospitals and building 40 new ones.” (Andrew Marr)
As Full Fact noted: “the government has committed the money to upgrade six hospitals by 2025. Up to 38 other hospitals have received money to plan for building work between 2025 and 2030, but not to actually begin any work.”
- “If we’re lucky enough to be elected, so the first budget we will go up to the £9,500 threshold and that will, as I say, put £500 into the pockets of everyone”
Boris Johnson, campaign stop in North Yorkshire
Johnson’s claim is incorrect. The increase to £9,500 will deliver a figure of £100 or less, not £500. Moreover, it is inaccurate to say the increase will benefit “everybody” as those earning less than the current threshold of £8,632 and those above the state pension age do not pay National Insurance.
- “There is absolutely no evidence that I’ve ever seen of any Russian interference in UK democratic processes”
As Channel 4 FactCheck reported, Johnson — then foreign secretary — stated in a joint press conference on 22 December 2017 with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that he had seen evidence of Russian interference in UK democracy.
- The UK’s corporation tax is “already the lowest in Europe”
Boris Johnson, Leadership debate, ITV
The UK’s corporation tax rate of 19 percent is not the lowest in Europe. As Full Fact noted, Ireland’s rate is 12.5 percent, Lithuania’s rate is 15 percent and Hungary’s is 9 percent.
- “The Conservative Party is the oldest, greatest political party in the world. It’s a big broad church and we don’t do deals with other parties”
Boris Johnson, Andrew Marr Show
Between 2010 and 2015 the Conservative Party governed in a coalition with the Liberal Democrats. In 2017 the party struck a £1 billion “confidence and supply” deal with the Democratic Unionist Party.
- “If you try to sell British socks in North America they currently attract a 19 per cent tariff and the Americans insist before they allow them to be sold on the US market they must try to set fire to them twice”
Boris Johnson to reporters en route to UN General Assembly
Johnson’s claim was quickly corrected by sock makers. Corgi Socks told Politico that US regulations were no barrier for its business. “Duty tariffs [with the US] are a bit of a barrier, regulations are not,” managing director Chris Jones said. “We have no problem with regulations selling in the US.” While the maximum tariff possible on socks exported to the US is 18.8 percent, this only applies if they are made from artificial or synthetic fibres. More common cotton socks have a tariff of 13.5 percent.
- In 2009 Johnson pledged to eradicate rough sleeping, the most visible form of homelessness, in London within three years. When he left office seven years later it had more than doubled.
- “Melton Mowbray pork pies, which are sold in Thailand and in Iceland, are currently unable to enter the US market because of, I don’t know, some sort of food and drug administration restriction”
The chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association told the Today programme that pork pies are not exported to Thailand or Iceland.
- The EU would be “entirely” to blame for a no-deal Brexit
Johnson’s assertion that the EU would be entirely to blame for a no-deal Brexit is undermined by the fact that the EU had struck a deal with his predecessor, Theresa May.
- “We kept the murder rate in London at fewer than 100 for more than four or five years running”
Boris Johnson to Parliament, first statement to the commons as prime minister
- Official figures show the number of homicides fell below 100 once during Johnson’s tenure as mayor of London, to 95 in 2014. In his last full year in office, 2015, it was 120.“He has had his costs massively increased by Brussels bureaucrats who have insisted that each kipper must be accompanied by this, a plastic ice pillow”
BBC Reality Check pointed out that “EU regulation covers fresh fish, not smoked fish”. This means it is actually the UK’s Food Standards Agency that sets the regulations for smoked kippers.
- Chances of a no-deal Brexit are “a million-to-one against”
Channel 4’s political editor Gary Gibbon reported on 3 September that Boris Johnson had been telling Tory MPs he believed the chances of striking a deal were “50/50.”
- “I didn’t make any remarks about Turkey, mate”
Boris Johnson, press conference at JCB headquarters
A week before the referendum in June 2016, Johnson wrote in a joint letter with his Vote Leave colleagues Michael Gove and Gisela Stuart: “The only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to Vote Leave.”
- “EU regulations stop us lowering lorry windows to help cyclists”
Boris Johnson, letter of resignation as foreign secretary
Channel 4’s FactCheck pointed out that this was false. The proposals he was talking about had been passed. The UK government had opposed them. Johnson had known this.
And, of course, the classic …
“We send the EU £350m a week”
Numerous independent fact-checking organisations have judged that the £350 million figure is wrong.