Sh*t or bust? It looks like Boris Johnson lied in his first PMQs

Not a great start.

Boris Johnson was savaged in his first Prime Minister’s Questions, with Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn tearing chunks into the PM over Tuesday’s historic defeat.

It seems the PM relied on falsehoods to get him through it.

Dodging a question from Corbyn on poverty, the PM replied: [Corbyn]…would put a £300 billion tax on every company in the country… and he is calling incessantly for a general strike.”

Mr Johnson appeared to be referring to Labour’s Inclusive Ownership Fund policy, announced last year.

Under Labour’s plans, every company with over 250 employees will be expected to create an Inclusive Ownership Fund. Each year, companies would transfer at least 1% of their ownership into the Fund, up to a maximum of 10% total IOF shareholding.

“Equal dividends will be paid from the IOF to the workforce, up to a capped limit of £500. Dividends from the IOF above that cap will be placed into the social dividend fund….The IOF shares will not be available for sale or transfer, being held through an “asset-lock” mechanism like that used by John Lewis and other employee-owned enterprises.”

And here’s the crux of it: “Payments from the IOF will be made to individual, eligible employees.”

Analysis by the Financial Times this week – which Johnson seemed to be drawing on – said it would amount to workers getting “£300bn of shares in 7,000 large companies.”

That would be workers getting that money – not the state. (There would be a – far smaller – tax dividend for the Treasury.)

So – not ‘all’ companies – only very large ones – and not a ‘tax’ at all, but a share ownership scheme for workers.

On Johnson’s point about Corbyn ‘backing a General Strike’ – there doesn’t seem to be any record of Mr Corbyn saying any such thing in recent months. The Mirror has more break-downs of the PM’s half-truths.

Boris Johnson said, caused some giggling on his own benches saying: “The shadow Education Secretary says their economic policy is ‘s**t or bust’. I say it’s both.”

Dare we say Johnson is talking s**t? And he may soon find he’s bust, too – the post-PMQs lobby ‘huddle’ saw intense discussion about whether the PM would resign if the anti-No Deal Brexit Bill passed. Not a good first proper week for bumbling Boris.

Of course – today would not be the first time the PM told porkies

Josiah Mortimer is Editor of Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter.

6 Responses to “Sh*t or bust? It looks like Boris Johnson lied in his first PMQs”

  1. Gary

    It’s a bit of a thin excuse to call him a liar on this one. There are SO many examples of actual full-on lies that this one is a bit of a straw man.

    It’s a ‘tax’ in the same way that overstaying in a private car park causes you to get a ‘fine’ In that example it is a ‘charge’ made under a contract NOT a fine. Fines are levied by courts, police and traffic wardens under criminal and traffic laws. But nevertheless we still call them ‘fines’ In the same way we call many things ‘taxes’ which clearly aren’t either. Boris, when not overtly lying, is ALWAYS careless with his words, this is nothing new. But when you write an article about him lying please choose a better example. This one makes it look like he’s being unfairly called a liar and that, at worst, he may ‘mis-speak’ at times. Thus it appears to be a straw man and actually HELPS him.

    However, on the point of Corbyn’s proposed policy, I would be VERY surprised if any companies ended up participating. In the same way that many companies avoid laws already (ie labour protections that apply to employers with more than ten employees causes owners of franchises to make each location it’s own company) then they would simply create artificial company entities and keep the employee count below the threshold. Large multinationals are good at this kind of thing, eg using ‘group accounting’ to game the system and avoid their taxes. It’s legal, but only because successive governments have blatantly allowed their chums and donors (and future employers) a free pass with tax.

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