Lies, Falsehoods and Misrepresentations from Boris Johnson to Rishi Sunak

‎”The Levelling Up Secretary has already announced an investigation into [Teesworks affair] matter”

PM Rishi Sunak, Prime Minister’s Questions

Context

The Teesworks redevelopment project is planned to create thousands of jobs on land that was once home to the Teesside Steelworks. It is overseen by Ben Houchen, Conservative mayor for the Tees Valley. 

The project has become mired in accusations of wrongdoing after questions were raised about the administration of the project.

Shadow communities secretary Lisa Nandy and the Labour chairman of the Commons Business and trade Committee, Darren Jones, both called for a National Audit Office (NAO) investigation into the site.

Fact

When asked about whether or not the government had launched an investigation into the Teesworks affair during PMQs, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said that the Levelling Up Secretary, Michael Gove, had “already announced” an investigation into the matter.

The claim led to confusion in the Commons. 

Andy McDonald, the Labour MP for Middlesbrough, later raised a point of order asking for clarification regarding the Prime Minister’s comment. He stated: “Can you advise how we can seek clarity from the Prime Minister on when this investigation was ordered?”. He added “We are in the dark”. 

Rishi Sunak sent in a letter of correction later that day. The record now reads: “The Levelling Up Secretary is today announcing an investigation into this matter.”

Verdict

A minor error, and to his credit Rishi Sunak has issued a letter of correction. While this is welcome, there are many other cases, highlighted in this website, where Rishi Sunak has made false or misleading statements which lie uncorrected on the Hansard record. 

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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