Is Boris Johnson a “known liar”? Here’s six times he’s known to have lied

He's been sacked for lying twice.

Boris Johnson speaking in the House of Commons

The head of Channel 4 News Dorothy Byrne sparked a furore recently after saying that Boris Johnson is a “known liar”.

These words were in the context of a speech in which she said journalists should not be afraid to call lies what they are – instead of using euphemisms like ‘strange claims’.

This speech drew an angry reaction from Johnson supporters. Johnson cancelled an interview with Channel 4 and a former Theresa May spin doctor said calling Johnson a “known liar” was not acceptable.

As if to illustrate Byrne’s point though, Johnson lied again yesterday, claiming that Melton Mowbray pork pies were exported to Thailand and Iceland but not to the US.

The head of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association disputed this. He said they aren’t exported to Thailand and Iceland and, because they are made of fresh meat and have a short shelf life, exports to the US aren’t viable either.

How did the BBC report this? Not as a lie exposed but as “Melton Mowbray pork pie makers and No 10 clash over Johnson claim”. Again, Byrne’s point is proven.

This is not Johnson’s first misleading claim. As Byrne says, he is in fact a known liar. Here’s six times he is known to have lied.

1.When he was fired from The Times for inventing a quote

Within months of starting a job at Times, which he got through family connections, he was sacked.

In his first front page story, he invented a quote from an academic. The academic, who happened to be Johnson’s own godfather, complained.

Instead of apologising then, Johnson wrote a further story saying the “mystery had deepened”.

He was sacked by the Times but, through knowing its editor from Oxford, got a job at the Telegraph.

2. When he was sacked from the Tory front bench for lying about an affair.

Johnson denied having an affair with journalist Petronella Wyatt, saying: “I have not had an affair with Petronella. It is complete balderdash.”

However, Wyatt and her mother said the affair did happen and she had to have an abortion as a result.

A spin doctor to the then Tory leader Michael Howard decided Johnson had lied to them and sacked him from his role as party vice chair and shadow arts minister.

3. When he said the UK gives £350m a week to the EU

During the referendum campaign, Johnson was repeatedly pictured with a bus saying that the UK gave the EU £350m a week.

When an ITV reporter told him it wasn’t true, he repeatedly said that it was.

According to the UK Statistics Authority, this figure should be £289m a week and, more importantly, it doesn’t include what the EU gives the UK.

Nevertheless, Johnson continued to repeat the lie at least until 2017. The chair of the UK statistics authority wrote a public letter to him accusing him of a “clear misuse of official statistics”.

4. When he lied about Turkey joining the EU

Johnson was on the core group of the campaign committee of Vote Leave. A common Vote Leave campaign poster said “Turkey (population 76m) is joining the EU”.

Johnson himself wrote to Cameron to say: “The public will draw the reasonable conclusion that the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote leave and take back control on 23 June,”

While there has been talk of Turkey joining the EU for decades, according to Full Fact, it is very unlikely to join any time soon.

As an EU member, the UK would have been able to veto Turkish membership if it ever did get close to joining.

5. When he lied about the EU’s kipper regulations

At the final Tory leadership hustings, he said “Brussels bureaucrats” rules meant kippers must be sent with a plastic ice pillow, thus increasing costs.

According to Full Fact, this is “incorrect”. The temperature requirement is a UK one.

6. When he promoted fracking

Johnson claimed: “There have been 125,000 fracks in the US, and not a single complaint to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).”

Full Fact say: “This is just not true. The EPA is currently examining the impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources.”

18 Responses to “Is Boris Johnson a “known liar”? Here’s six times he’s known to have lied”

  1. Patrick Newman

    The ageing and aged male Tory lumpens have got what they wanted – Trump in Union Jack boxers. With him comes the Trumpian indifference to the veracity and consistency of public statements. His plan to prorogue parliament could result in legal actions involving the Queen. However, it looks as if the VONC will not happen – if Corbyn cannot be sure of a majority why should he be humiliated by a defeat. It’s good – better still if M.P.’s can’t stop the no-deal Brexit. Johnson will have to face up to the reality of his big bluff and face the electoral consequences of post Brexit chaos. That may be a good time for Corbyn to launch his VONC.

  2. Dave Roberts

    Patrick! Good to hear you mate! We thought you had been certified geezer! Yo, dude! In English yeh? Wicked, innit? And stuff and shit man.

  3. Alasdair Macdonald

    The LibDem MP, Mr Alistair Campbell, when he was Minister of State for Scotland in the Cameron/Clegg administration told a lie about the French Ambassador and the First Minister of Scotland. When he was identified as the source of the lie, three of his Orkney and Shetland constituents raised a case against him in the Court of Session in Edinburgh. They were crowd funded.
    Their case had three strands and the Judge upheld two of these and only rejected the third because it is ‘known that MPs tell lies’ (or words to that effect.)
    The case was lost, but, the judge did not award costs to Mr Campbell. His verdict was delivered in scathing terms!

    Campbell’s LibDem cronies used their control over a Rowntree Foundation fund to pay his costs. ‘He is not a rich man’ was their justification. This is why people like Mr Campbell, Mr Gordon Brown, Ms Ruth Davidson, etc all support ‘our precious union’ – it gives them a trough to bury their snouts in. “A parcel o’ rogues in a nation …” as Robert Burns wrote of the clique who formed the 1707 union between Scotland and England.

  4. Gary

    I’m NOT going to stick up for Boris, he is vileness personified BUT, on the ‘pie’ issue No 10 has ‘clarified’ and refutes any thought that Boris ‘lied’ about this. That other ‘impartial’ blog “Guido” is stating that the Melton Mobray Pie Assoc man is a former Labour candidate and is therefore trying to tarnish anything he actually says about this issue.

    A lot of what Johnson says sails VERY close to the wind as far as fact and accuracy is concerned. But then he is a politician, isn’t he? I mean, they are ALLOWED to lie, aren’t they? No? Oh yes they are. Look at the attempted private prosecution of Alistair Carmichael MP for lying in order to obtain office and the further complaint on ‘Abuse of Office’ to the Standards Cttee in regard to the same matter (he was a Cabinet Minister at the time) In open court he admitted he had made up a ‘memo’ which had fictitious contents, leaked the memo to the newspapers, lied about the veracity of the contents, lied about having made it up and having abused his office by using his position to manufacture this and have it disseminated in order to affect an election result. He admitted ALL of this in court and yet he could not be convicted, he had NOT committed any offence in law. He still serves as a constituency MP and no action was taken by the Standards Cttee.

    With that example, and many others, we can see that Johnson is merely typical of his ilk. The political system allows and encourages dishonesty, lies and embezzlement.

    I agree however that reporters SHOULD be able to use the ‘L-word’ Why not call a spade a spade? Well, there COULD be good reason why it’s not been done in the past. I worked for the Civil Service for many years and had to interview professional people under difficult circumstances. On many, many occasions I knew that people were lying to me and we had the same restriction, don’t use the word ‘lie’ or ‘liar’ This involved some VERY creative use of language to not use the word but at the same time let people know that they’d been rumbled. Ultimately if they know they’re going to get a rough time they will restrict who interviews them as a first line of defence. But secondly, if they eventually HAVE to submit to being called a liar it will eventually lose it’s edge. People will get used to politicans being called liars and simply it will make no impact any more.

    I’m saying it’s an impossible fight. It’s an interesting conversation but no more than that. Unfortunately…

  5. Dave Roberts

    Please don’t tell Mama I’m a politician, she thinks I play the piano in a whorehouse.

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