Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“Rough sleeping in this country is down by 35% since its peak, thanks to the efforts of this Government” 

PM Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister’s Questions

Facts

During Prime Minister’s Questions on 13 December 2023, Rishi Sunak claimed that “rough sleeping in this country is down by 35% since its peak”.

The Prime Minister made this claim in response to Labour leader Keir Starmer’s comment that “nearly 140,000 children are going to be homeless this Christmas, that is more than ever before, that’s a shocking state of affairs and it should shame this government.”

According to the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities’ 2023 report, rough sleeping in 2022 was indeed 35% down from its peak in 2017; however, it is up 74% since 2010, when the Conservative government took office when the current reporting system started.

Verdict

Rough sleeping has actually soared during the last 14 years of Conservative rule. Sunak chose an arbitrary date when the right sleeping crisis reached its peak to justify his claim that “rough sleeping in this country is down by 35% since its peak, thanks to the efforts of this government” 

As we have noted before, Sunak’s misleading remarks tend to be more subtle, devious, and carefully constructed. They often contain an element of truth, which has been twisted or repackaged to create a false impression in the mind of the voter. To put it another way: there’s something cunning about Sunak’s falsehoods, as if he knows he isn’t quite telling the truth. 

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office and Downing Street offering them the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

Published 28 Jun 2024
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