Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”At times, up to 20% of the adult males who arrive at Western Jet Foil claimed to be under 18, when quite clearly the number is very substantially less than that.”

Robert Jenrick, Immigration Minister, House of Commons

Facts

Immigration minister Robert Jenrick claimed in Parliament earlier this month that, at times, up to a fifth of adult men who arrived at an asylum processing centre in Dover were saying that they were under 18 when “the number is very substantially less than that” Mr Jenrick was therefore accusing asylum seekers of lying about their age. This was an inflammatory comment at a time of rising tension about immigration.

Due diligence website  Full Fact has noted there is no published data to support this claim. 

Full Fact got in touch with the Home Office who told them, “it was based on provisional operational data, which has not been made public.” When they then asked the Home Office if it planned to publish the figures cited by Mr Jenrick – as it is expected to do when ministers make claims using unpublished data – officials did not directly respond to the organisation. 

Verdict

Mr Jenrick accusing asylum seekers in Dover of making false claims- an allegation which takes chutzpah when coming from a member of the Sunak government. Since Jenrick’s assertion was inflammatory at a time of rising tension about immigration, he had a special responsibility  to provide evidence that his claim was true. He  failed to do so. 

We emailed Robert Jenrick’s office and the Home Office offering them the chance to respond and asking “at the time of our writing, we were not able to confirm the statistics you quoted. Is this data publicly available and if so where can we find it?”. The email was received by both, but no reply.

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