Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Keir Starmer

“The Labour Party talks about good use of taxpayers’ money, but what do we have from it? Plans for an unfunded, £28 billion spending spree. What would that do? Drive up borrowing and push up interest rates, adding £1,000 to everyone’s mortgage”

Oliver Dowden, Deputy Prime Minister, Prime Minister’s Questions

Facts

Speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden stated that Labour’s plans to invest £28 billion a year in green energy would add £1,000 a year to “everyone’s mortgage”. 

Dowden made the claim two days after an article in the Daily Mail reported this figure and said it had come from “Treasury analysis”. 

The Treasury has since made it clear that the statistics do not come from official analysis. It was forced to make the admission to the UK’s Statistics Authority (UKSA) after the organisation demanded to know where the figure had come from. 

The radio channel LBC has since reported that the figure, reported as a piece of official government research, was produced by Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s political team.

Oliver Dowden has not corrected the record. 

Verdict

Oliver Dowden’s misled Parliament. He has not corrected the record.

According to the Ministerial Code,  “It is of paramount importance that Ministers give accurate and truthful information to Parliament, correcting any inadvertent error at the earliest opportunity.  Ministers who knowingly mislead Parliament will be expected to offer their resignation to the Prime Minister.”  Oliver Dowden was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code.

We emailed Oliver Dowden’s parliamentary office and the Cabinet Office offering them the chance to respond. The email to his parliamentary office was received, but no reply. 

Client Journalism 

Dowden’s fabricated statement at PMQs is an important example of the client journalism which has become a characteristic feature of the Sunak/Johnson governments. 

The misleading claim produced by the Deputy Prime Minister at PMQs, that Labour’s green energy plans would add £1,000 a year to family mortgage costs, first appeared in the Tory supporting Daily Mail. The Daily Mail falsely attributed the claim to “Treasury analysis.” Another example of invented figures designed to inflict political damage on Labour, amplified and given credibility by client media. 

We contacted the Daily Mail offering them the chance to respond. We received no response.

Published 28 Jun 2024
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