Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“Last week we saw protests outside our own House of Commons, extremely aggressive & violent protests from Islamist extremists, and we should be able to say, we are concerned about what we are seeing on our capital city week after week after week”

Rachel Maclean MP, BBC Politics Live

Facts

Speaking on BBC Politics Live, MP Rachel Maclean described a protest outside of the House of Commons on 21 February 2024 as “extremely aggressive & violent protests from Islamist extremists”. The protest was demanding an immediate ceasefire in Gaza.

The demonstration outside the House of Commons on 21 February 2024 that she was referring to was entirely peaceful.

The weekly demonstrations over Gaza in London and other cities have been entirely peaceful.

Challenged by Trevor Philips on Sky News on March 3 to name extremist groups that have infiltrated marches over Gaza the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, was unable to. 

Open Democracy reports between October and the end of December 2023 “there were only 153 arrests – with the majority of people, 117, being released without charge”. They go on to compare the number of arrests to Glastonbury, saying “ an average 0.5 people had been arrested for every 10,000 attendees. By comparison, Glastonbury Festival saw an average 1.75 arrests for every 10,000 attendees last year”

Verdict

Maclean’s statement is entirely untrue.

We emailed Rachel Maclean’s office offering her the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

Client Journalism

Presenter Jo Coburn did not challenge Rachel Maclean’s comments and instead went on to ask Labour MP Luke Pollard if they were legitimate concerns. Mr Pollard responded “It’s certainly true that there’s been some really violent threats and some utterly unacceptable behaviours from a small group of people”

Published 28 Jun 2024
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