Boris Johnson lies. This is no big shock. What is shocking though, is that he was made Prime Minister despite a history of proven dishonesty. He seemingly faces no real consequences for his inability to be truthful - whether it's as a journalist, an MP or as leader of our country.
This has been made apparent most recently during the Covid Inquiry as the former PM has been called to give evidence. Observing the inquiry, BBC's political editor Chris Mason noted that 'the number of times he said "I can't remember" and "I don't know" stood out'. He has also been accused of his 'usual lies and bluster' by a spokesperson for Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK.
During the inquiry, he has also been accused of 'trying to rewrite history'. This isn't the first or last time Boris Johnson has conveniently forgotten something or played the fool to his advantage.
In September 2019, the Supreme Court ruled that Boris Johnson's suspension of parliament was 'unlawful' and that he had an 'improper purpose' when he advised the Queen to prorogue parliament. There were then calls for him to resign from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and deputy leader Tom Watson, as well as SNP leader Ian Blackford.
'The effect on the fundamentals of our democracy was extreme,' concluded Supreme Court president Lady Hale, 'The decision to advise Her Majesty to prorogue Parliament was unlawful because it had the effect of frustrating or preventing the ability of Parliament to carry out its constitutional functions without reasonable justification.' You can read the full judgement here.
Boris Johnson's deceit made the news another time when he was accused of lying to the face of a father whose daughter nearly died on an understaffed NHS hospital ward. When said father told him he was 'destroying the NHS' yet was at the hospital for a 'press opportunity', Boris looked at the group of press filming the event and said 'there's no press here'.
While there is little to no hope that revealing his trail of dishonesty will actually lead to any real change, it's still important to remember - even though he is no longer Prime Minister, we cannot trust this man to be honest.
So where's the proof? Well, strap in - here's all of Boris Johnson's most infamous lies - from the times he was sacked for dishonesty (yes, there's more than one) to all the promises he broke as London Mayor...
All The Lies Boris Johnson Has Told As A Public Figure (That We Know Of)
When he lied about there being press at a hospital to a man confronting him about ‘destroying the NHS’
Here's a new absolutely brazen lie captured on camera. Boris was confronted by a distraught father whose daughter almost died on an understaffed NHS ward. 'This ward is not safe for children,' Omar Salem told the Prime Minister as he walked past him in the hospital, 'There was one registrar covering the entirety of this ward and the neonatal unit. The NHS has been destroyed, it's been destroyed, it's been destroyed, and now you come here for a press opportunity!''Actually there's no press here,' Boris replied – as he was filmed by the group of press in the hospital. When pressed on whether it was a press opportunity, he said 'as far as I'm aware this is not a [inaudible].''This is a press opportunity. You didn't invite the press here? You didn't ask them to come? You don't have a press handler back here?' the father asked before Boris was ushered away as Omar accused him of living in 'La La Land.' With the Press Association sharing images of the event, and the BBC a video, it's fair to assume the hospital visit did include press. In fact, earlier in the visit Boris appeared to pose for pictures pouring tea with NHS staff.
When he allegedly lied to the Queen about why he was suspending parliament
Also his go-to line to the public, Boris stated the proroguing parliament will allow for a new set of legislation when parliament returned on the 14th October in 2019. However, given that the UK left the EU on the 31st October, many – his peers included – believe he suspended parliament to prevent scrutiny from MPs about whatever deal – or no deal - he delivers. Given that it was ultimately the late Queen's decision to suspend parliament – on advice from the PM – Boris was accused of lying to her about his real motives. In fact, it was even been put to the Supreme Court to decide. Boris, of course, denies lying to her.
When he made many a false promise as London Mayor
Where to even begin? In his 2008 manifesto, Boris promised manned ticket stations at every train station in London. Subsequently, he instead went for widespread closures that would fund a 24-hour tube. According to MP Wes Streeting, Boris spent £46million of taxpayer money in efforts to build the Garden Bridge that never was, £60m on construction, and £500,000 on running costs of an Emirates Airline – the most expensive cable car ever built – which only has four daily users. He called for a Boris Island Airport that would have cost £100billion even after the Airports Commission rejected the plans. He also 'campaigned against Londoners paying "the highest fares in Europe" and yet oversaw an increase of fares by an average of 4.2 per cent,' Wes tweeted, '[and] pledged not to allow the congestion charge to go above £8... It rose to £11.50 on his watch.'More terrifyingly, he promised to put an end to rough sleeping in London by 2012 – yet it doubled during his tenure as leader. He said police in London would increase in numbers despite government cuts – this was accused of being 'barefaced lies'. Plus, he claimed during the 2012 election that robberies were down 16.3% under his mayoralty - but independent analysis showed they actually rose by 18.8%. 'Crime started rising nationally in 2014 and continued to rise during his time in office,' Wes claimed, 'including an increase in homicides.'When the 2011 riots took place, he took ownership of getting London 'through the riots' despite being on holiday when it began and only coming home after public backlash.
When he promised the NHS would receive £350m that was supposedly being spent on the EU
Backing the infamously untrue claim on the side of the Vote Leave bus, Boris repeated this sentiment even after the UK Statistics Authority called is 'misleading'. Stating it in a published article in the Telegraph, he said: 'once we have settled our accounts, we will take back control of roughly 350m per week. It would be a fine thing as many of us have pointed out if a lot of that money went on the NHS, provided we use that cash injection to modernise and make the most of new technology.'The problem here, as we've heard a thousand times, is that there is no evidence whatsoever that Brexit will make us better off to the tune of 350 million quid. Indeed, Sir David Norgrove, the chairman of the UK Statistics Authority, has criticized Johnson for reigniting debate about this spurious claim. In a letter to the Foreign Secretary, he has said 'I am surprised and disappointed that you have chosen to repeat the figure of £350m per week in connection with the amount that might be available for extra public spending when we leave the European Union.' As such, he faced private prosecution charges for deliberately lying during the campaign. Later, it was struck out by the High Court.He denies everything, with his lawyer saying: 'I should make it clear that because of the interest in this case that it is absolutely denied by Mr Johnson that he acted in an improper or dishonest manner at any time.'
When he implied voting to remain in the EU was unpatriotic
In his Telegraph article for which he also reiterated the £350m figure, Boris wrote, 'I look at so many young people with the 12 stars lipsticked to their faces, and I am troubled with the thought that people are beginning to have genuinely split allegiances. And when people say that they feel they have more in common with others in Europe than with people who voted leave I want to say, but that is part of the reason why people voted leave.'Did Boris Johnson, the Foreign Secretary, just imply that it was unpatriotic for young people to be pro-European Union? Did he just suggest that by being so they are, somehow, not loyal to their country? Does the Foreign Secretary sound ever so slightly nationalistic here?Let's be clear, last year's referendum result was far from definitive. Indeed, the result was nearly a 50:50 split. The Foreign Secretary may have allied himself with those who wanted to leave the EU, either as a result of his genuinely Eurosceptic ideology or because it seemed politically prudent to do so for his own career, but that does not discount the fact that the vote was split 51.9% to 48.1%, meaning that over 16 million people disagree with his definition of patriotism.Johnson added that he feels a 'transnational sense of allegiance can weaken the ties between us'. In a global world where we rely on having relationships with people in other countries for work as well as to deepen our understanding of the lives of others, his rhetoric is dangerously isolationist.
When he said Brexit could solve the housing crisis
In another of his many egregious falsehoods in THAT fateful Telegraph article, Boris went on to state the following: 'And I can think of obvious ways in which Brexit can help us tackle the housing crisis – perhaps the single biggest challenge for the younger generation. There may be ways of simplifying planning procedures, post-Brexit, and abbreviating impact assessments – without in any way compromising the environment. It is often pointed out that the price of housing in certain parts of London may be increased by buyers from overseas. But there is no point in putting any kind of tax on foreign buyers because the inhabitants of 27 other countries cannot legally be treated as foreign. No one would want a tax that discouraged international investment and stopped good developments from happening. No one would want to send a signal that the London market was closed.'Remember when Jeremy Corbyn and his team not only said they would scrap tuition fees but implied they'd look at current graduate debts retrospectively in order to win over the youth vote during election time? That was calculated, this is cynical.Brexit cannot solve the housing crisis. We do need to relax our planning laws, that's true, but this has nothing to do with the EU and we are already building micro-homes in an attempt to solve the crisis. Do we want laws relaxed to the point where people are living in actual shoe boxes? No. British homes are already the smallest in Europe.Johnson also implies the EU investors have driven prices up, that's not strictly true. So-called 'foreign investors' from all over the world have been involved with buying up property and renting it out at a premium or leaving it empty across the country. Such speculation has exacerbated the crisis but it didn't cause it. We need laws which state that local homes should be offered to local people first, did the Foreign Secretary do anything about this as Mayor of London? No. Did the EU advise Southwark council to knock down the Heygate estate in South London, uproot its residents and build totally unaffordable housing in its place? No.We do not need Brexit to solve the housing crisis, we need more government investment and house building, not sticking plaster schemes like Help to Buy. We need councils to meet their building targets. We need regulation of the rental market. As Mayor of London Johnson oversaw the London Property market reach its apex, he watched the housing crisis bubble up to boiling point and did nothing. Foreign investors have played a role in our housing problems but compared with the selling off of public housing assets, inaction of British politicians and vested interested of the Buy to Let landlords in Westminster they're a mere itch.
When he blamed the Hillsborough disaster on Liverpool fans
In 2004, 15 years after multiple newspapers wrongfully accused Liverpool fans of causing the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, Boris wrote an article for The Spectator making the same accusation. At this point, he was editor of the magazine and a tory MP for Henley. More than just accusing scouse fans of killing 96 people, he also contributed to the 'whingeing scousers' stigma by accusing Liverpool people of wallowing in their victim status. You know, because they were fighting to prove a police cover-up that would take near 30 years to prove true. Several years later, he apologised, saying 'anyone, journalist or politician, should say sorry to the people of Liverpool – as I do – for misrepresenting what happened at Hillsborough.'
When he made up a quote and was fired from The Times
Within months of being hired by The Times through family connections, Boris was sacked after he made up a quote in his first front page story. The story was about the discovery of the Rose Palace which was built by Edward II – whom was famously rumoured to be sexually involved with Piers Gaveston. 'The trouble was that somewhere in my copy I managed to attribute to Colin the view that Edward II and Piers Gaveston would have been cavorting together in the Rose Palace,' he said. 'Unfortunately, some linkside don at a provincial university spotted that by the time the Rose Palace was built, Piers Gaveston would long have been murdered. It was very nasty.'Boris then went on to fabricate another story about the issue, questioning the date the castle was built, after which he was sacked.
When he lied about his extramarital affair
Having been made party vice-chairman and shadow arts minister for the Conservatives back in 2003, he assured Tory leader Michael Howard that tabloid rumours about his affair with Petronella Wyatt were not true. After calling the story an 'inverted pyramid of piffle', the affair was proven true. Of course, he refused to resign despite lying. As a result, he was sacked for dishonesty for the second time in his career.
When he started Euroscepticism
After being fired from The Times, he became Brussels correspondent for The Daily Telegraph where he went on to write many articles dubbed 'Euromyths'. They were part of a larger series of Eurosceptic articles from various papers that implied Europe was threatening the British way of life. His claims included plans to change British sausages, bananas and ban prawn cocktail crisps – as well as introduce same size 'euro coffins'. All of them were dubbed false. Although, that hasn't stopped Boris believing them – because he brought out the same notion on his 2016 Vote Leave tour when he suggested the EU was changing the shape of bananas yet again, something debunked since 1994.
When he was accused of saying 80 million Turkish people would come to Britain unless we left the EU
Yes, really. He's denied saying it – of course, but on the record is a letter he signed stating 'the only way to avoid having common borders with Turkey is to vote Leave and take back control.''Turkey (population 76 million) is joining the EU' a Vote Leave campaign poster also read, adding 'David Cameron wants Turkey to join the EU. How will our NHS cope? 'His Turkish cousin went on to say of him: 'He doesn't strike me as being very honest about his views.'
Boris Johnson October 2020
Boris Johnson led the UK's response to the Covid-19 pandemic that swept across the world at the end of 2019 and the start of 2020. The government's response was largely thought of as too slow, with a national lockdown not called until the end of March. However, Boris Johnson and his team claim to be unable to retrieve six months-worth of WhatsApp messages covering the start of the pandemic and lockdown due to 'technical issues'. Something that prompted Nathan Oswin, who leads on the inquiry for the TUC (Trades Union Congress), said: 'This inquiry is about learning the lessons of what went wrong so that we can save lives in the future. It shouldn’t be abused by politicians looking to salvage their legacies and rewrite history. Boris Johnson and Rishi Sunak must play by the rules and put people above their own political fortunes.'
Boris Johnson, Christmas 2021
Another pandemic blunder for the PM, throughout 2020 and 2021 when the nation was under strict lockdown restrictions, the Conservative Party held several gatherings (otherwise known as parties) which broke their own rules. In January 2022, 12 gatherings came under investigation by the Metropolitan Police, including at least three attended by Boris Johnson. The police issued 126 fixed penalty notices to 83 individuals, including his wife Carrie, and Rishi Sunak, who all apologised and paid the penalties. Of course, when news of the first 10 Downing Street gathering – a Christmas party in 2020 – was reported on 30 November 2021 by the Daily Mirror, Boris Johnson said rules had been followed and denied that a party had taken place.
Boris Johnson May 2022
Despite his best efforts to find excuses for the mishandling of the pandemic, the Covid-19 Bereaved Families for Justice UK organisation is not buying it. A spokesperson for the group, Mark Fowler said, 'Boris Johnson’s team appear to have been leaking his witness statement left, right and centre ahead of his appearance tomorrow. Unsurprisingly, the claims he’s making are the usual lies and bluster.' He added, 'The inquiry has already entirely debunked the claim that "he got the big calls right". In reality, when news of the pandemic first struck, Johnson treated it all like it was a joke, and as cases began to rise he delayed locking down, causing thousands of unnecessary deaths, such as my dad’s. Even worse, when the second wave came around he repeated all of the same mistakes, leading to even more people dying than in the first wave.'