PM accused of lying about higher employment levels since pandemic

LONDON (Parliament Politics Magazine) – During the PMQs, Boris Johnson said,  “500,000 more people in paid employment now than when the pandemic began.” Not only is this inaccurate, but Johnson has repeated it ten times in parliament, according to Full Fact, a fact-checking website.

ALSO READ: UK: the snapped verdict of this day’s PMQs

Before the pandemic, the ONS estimated that 33,073,000 individuals were employed between December 2019 and February 2020. According to the most recent numbers, 32,485,000 individuals were employed from December 2021 to February 2022, nearly 600,000 from before the pandemic.

This is the most recent Full Fact article on the subject.

When asked about the issue at the liaison committee last month, Johnson said he recognised that it was only payroll employment that was increasing (the significant drop has been in the number of self-employed people), and that the record had been corrected. That was also false; he hasn’t spoken to parliament, at least not formally.

Will Moy, the CEO of Full Fact, commented on the latest falsehood:

The PM had now made the same incorrect claim ten times in parliament. And nothing had happened since then. They had double-checked this job claim and written to Number 10 several times. Boris Johnson had acknowledged his mistake and promised to rectify the record, but they hadn’t seen anything yet. That was inexcusable and they deserved better.

MPs must no longer tolerate their colleagues deceiving the House of Commons and, as a result, the general public. The system was broken, and change was required to restore trust in the political system.

Summary for the early evening

  • An investigation has been launched by the government chief whip into accusations that a Conservative frontbencher was watching pornography on his phone in the Commons chamber.
  • Boris Johnson has been called the “Comical Ali of the cost-of-living issue,” by Keir Stramer who accused the government of burying its head in the sand while inflation rose and taxes climbed for many.
  • Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker’s attempt to call the editor of the Mail David Dillon, on Sunday, to a meeting to discuss his concerns about the paper’s much-criticised piece about Angela Rayner has been described as “uncomfortable” by No 10. Dillon stated last night that he will not be attending. 
  • The suggestions that she regarded “sexist slurs” directed against her as a joke were hit out at by Rayner.
  • After reports that ministers were considering decreasing import duties, the president of the farmers’ union warned that lowering food tariffs wouldn’t solve the cost-of-living crisis and that suggesting as much to consumers would be “misleading.”
  • In a report by the cabinet’s ethics adviser, Lord Geidt, Rishi Sunak was cleared of breaking the ministerial code regarding his wife’s tax matters.
  • Following MPs’ criticism of the government’s inability to crack down on criminals who stole billions of pounds from taxpayers through Covid assistance programmes, a £25 million “fraud squad” will be established.