Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”The Leader of the Opposition is perfectly comfortable saying that he wants to bring back free movement”

PM Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister’s Questions

Facts

Whilst speaking at Prime Minister’s Questions, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claimed that Keir Starmer “is perfectly comfortable saying that he wants to bring back free movement.’

During the Labour leadership election in 2020, Keir Starmer voiced support for the free movement of people. He signalled that he would bring back UK-EU free movement if he was in power, commenting: “I want families to be able to live together, whether that’s in Europe or here…We have to make the case for freedom of movement.”

Since being elected, however, Starmer has made it clear again and again that the Labour party has ruled out bringing back the free movement of people between Britain and the EU, saying that it would be a “red line” for Labour if it gets into power. 

His spokesperson accounted for this change in opinion stating “He said he would support freedom of movement whilst the negotiations were going on. Clearly we have now left the EU, so that matter is resolved.”

Verdict

It is true that in the past, before becoming Labour leader, Keir Starmer had supported free movement. However, he has since changed his mind. Rishi Sunak would have been within his rights to mock Keir Starmer for this about turn. But his statement that “The Leader of the Opposition is perfectly comfortable saying that he wants to bring back free movement” is false. 

Sunak was misleading the House of Commons. 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.” Rishi Sunak was misleading parliament in defiance of the Ministerial Code, in theory, a resignation offence.

We emailed Rishi Sunak’s office and Number 10 offering him the chance to respond. The email was received, but no reply. 

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