Unionist journalist says Boris Johnson’s lying is a threat to politics



BORIS Johnson’s “habitual lies” will lead to a total collapse of trust and crisis in politics, an author has warned.

Peter Oborne has set out a series of “misleading statements” made by the Prime Minister in the House of Commons, including about the SNP, which he has sent to party leaders.

The journalist – who was once hired by Johnson when the Prime Minister was editor of the Spectator magazine – compiled the dossier for a new book in which he argues the lying from his former boss is on a scale never seen in politics before.

Oborne, who was also formerly a Daily Mail columnist and chief political commentator of the Daily Telegraph, told the Sunday National: “The British Prime Minister is a serious job. The Prime Minister has the power to declare war or handle national emergencies, ask us to make sacrifices.

“I don’t know how people can possibly trust Mr Johnson to deal with these serious issues, given he is a serial and habitual liar.

“For instance he said in Parliament [in 2020] the SNP had not had a debate in its Parliament on education for two years.

“In fact there had been six debates about schools – endless discussions in the Scottish Parliament.”

Oborne said another example was Johnson claiming in 2019 that Nicola Sturgeon had said SNP policy was to “join the Euro” – even though she had stated Scotland would have an independent currency before joining the EU.

He added: “I am Unionist – but how can Mr Johnson fight a referendum, if there is a referendum. Who is going to believe a word he says?”

The list also includes claims made that the economy had grown by 73% “under this Conservative Government”, when this figure relates to between 1990 and 2017, which includes 13 years of Labour government and five years of the Coalition.

Another example given is a statement made by Johnson in October 2019 in which he declared “there will be no checks” between Northern Ireland and Britain after Brexit. But Oborne wrote that only the previous day the Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay had said paperwork would be required for goods sent between the two countries.

And lorries were met with officials and directed to new border control posts when the first goods crossed the new trade border on January 1 this year.

Oborne said: “This is new – there is a record of occasional lying on the floor of the House or misleading statements, but ministers resigned when they were caught out.

“Now it just happens and there is no comeback “I think it debases politics, it destroys the public space – instead of being a common standard of truth, there is a common standard of fabrication as anything goes.

“It is going to create a kind of political emergency at some point. It’s not unique, but it is the sheer volume we are getting from Johnson.”

Oborne said his book, The Assault On Truth, attempts to describe how Johnson “doesn’t seem to care what is true or false”.

When it comes to consequences of such actions, he pointed to the example of the claim that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) being used by Tony Blair as justification for the invasion of the country in 2003.

“If you think about the sheer horror of it, Britain used the fantasy of WMD as justification for the invasion of another country, in which well over 100,000 people were killed, the country was wrecked and out of which [Daesh] emerged,” he said.

“And that was a falsehood. Mr Blair says he genuinely believes what he was saying – but it wasn’t true.”

Oborne added: “What are the consequences – total collapse in political trust, crisis in our politics.

“I am amazed that people don’t seem to care about it.

“In Scotland, there are currently problems, but at least there seems to be recognition of the necessity to tell the truth to parliament.

“The allegation made against Nicola Sturgeon which she may have misled parliament is being taken very seriously. As far as I know allegations that Johnson has misled parliament –no-one gives a damn.”

Former French ambassador Sylvie Bermann has also attacked Johnson for lying in her newly published book Goodbye Britannia, saying it was evident during the Brexit campaign.

Last week she said: “No-one should be surprised he gets called a liar. Just look at the side of that bus: a flagrant lie. But lying is no longer a sin.”

A spokesperson for the SNP said: “Boris Johnson’s Trumpian Tories have a list of broken promises and untruthful claims longer than Sauchiehall Street.

“Whether it’s assuring Scotland would remain within the European Union in 2014, promising to protect Scotland’s fishing industry during Brexit negotiations or guaranteeing British students association with the Erasmus+ programme post-Brexit – all were promised, none were delivered.

“May’s election offers Scotland two choices: more broken promises and austerity measures under Boris Johnson, or the right to decide if Scotland has a progressive future within the European Union as an independent country.”

The UK Government did not respond to request for comment on Oborne’s remarks.





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