Dishonesty in parliament goes far beyond partygate, fact checkers say
Today, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, the Commons Speaker is expected to decide on whether MPs can refer the Prime Minister to a formal parliamentary investigation over claims that he misled the House of Commons over parties in Downing Street.
Full Fact is asking that this investigation does not just focus on Partygate, but examine wider honesty in Parliament, including the Prime Minister's repeated misuse of employment figures in the House of Commons.
"What is said in Parliament should be the cornerstone of our democratic debate. However, at present, our political system acts as if accuracy doesn’t matter.
Partygate is one example, however dishonesty in Parliament goes far beyond Partygate.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly misused and misrepresented employment figures in the House of Commons. Despite an admission of his error, multiple challenges from Full Fact, various regulators and MPs, we’re yet to see an official correction from Boris Johnson.
MPs must stop putting up with their peers misleading the House of Commons and in turn the public. The system is broken and in order to rebuild trust in our political system, change is needed.
Correcting honest mistakes is not an admission of failure, and it’s up to our elected representatives to find a new mechanism for challenging misleading claims and upholding accountability.”
Full Fact research shows that 71% of Britons believe there was more lying and misuse of facts in politics and media than 30 years ago. Lack of faith in politics is a top 10 concern for the public in the latest Ipsos Issues Index. Full Fact is calling on MPs to fix Parliament’s broken corrections system as a first step towards rebuilding trust in politics.
As part of its Honesty in Politics Campaign, the charity is asking MPs to publicly acknowledge when they get things wrong and to collectively agree new rules which make it easy to correct mistakes in the House of Commons, and that will stop MPs repeatedly misleading Parliament.
If you would like to arrange an interview with Will Moy, please contact Full Fact's press team on 07950 114013 / firstname.lastname@example.org
Notes to editors:
- About Full Fact: Full Fact is an independent charity. Its team of fact checkers and campaigners work to find, expose and counter the harms of bad information. To find out more visit fullfact.org
- Between November 2021 and March 2022, Full Fact counted at least eight occasions where the Prime Minister incorrectly told the House of Commons that there were, at the time, more people in work than prior to the pandemic.
- While there are more payrolled employees now than in February 2020, at the time of the initial claim, 24 November 2021, the total number of people in paid work, including the self-employed, was below the level seen just prior to the pandemic. Our full breakdown of the figures can be found in our fact check here.
- Full Fact has repeatedly written to No. 10 asking Boris Johnson to correct the record. The Prime Minister has also received letters from the Office for Statistics Regulation and UK Statistics Authority regarding his use of employment figures.
- 30 March 2022, when questioned on employment by the Liaison Committee, the Prime Minister was asked whether he recognised that his claims were incorrect. The Prime Minister replied saying “I think I have repeatedly”, following this with “I think I took steps to correct the record earlier”. Full Fact can find no evidence of the Prime Minister correcting the record on these employment claims.
- Full Fact’s Honesty in Politics campaign launched on 8 April 2022 with a petition aimed at MPs across the political spectrum. The petition asks signatories to back a call for MPs to admit publicly when they get things wrong, and to agree to new rules to make it easy to correct mistakes and stop politicians from misleading Parliament. As of 19 April 2022, the petition has over 18,000 signatures.