Another Boris Johnson lie at PMQs: Labour did not want to take the UK out of NATO

During Prime Minister’s Questions today, Boris Johnson told another lie. He claimed that the Labour Party would have wanted to pull the UK out of NATO and tried to abolish the army.

Boris Johnson

During Prime Minister’s Questions today, Boris Johnson told another lie. He claimed that the Labour Party would have wanted to pull the UK out of NATO. He also claimed that it tried to abolish the army.

Johnson made the remarks as he clashed with Labour deputy leader Angela Rayner during PMQs, as she said that the budget delivered by the chancellor last week contained a £1bn cut for day-to-day defence spending.

He told Rayner: “I think it’s quite incredible that we’re now hearing this from the Labour Party when they would have pulled us out of NATO.”

It’s a false claim that’s been repeated by the Tories, including former foreign secretary Dominic Raab, from when Jeremy Corbyn was leader. After he became leader, Jeremy Corbyn never called for the UK to leave NATO. It remained Labour party policy for Britain to continue as a member of NATO and carry on spending 2 per cent of national income on defence.

Indeed, the 2019 Labour Manifesto stated: “We will maintain our commitment to NATO and our close relationship with our European partners, and we will use our influence at the United Nations to support peace and security worldwide.”

As for Johnson’s claim that Lisa Nandy wanted to abolish the army, it’s a claim repeated previously in the Mail on Sunday, which once claimed in a headline: “Labour’s Nandy praises report calling for woke ‘peace force’ to replace army”. The reality is that the report in question called for reforms to the army and its role, suggesting that British troops should operate in ways that sound similar to UN peacekeepers, and work alongside aid workers and other civilians. It did not suggest abolishing or “replacing” the army.

Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward

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