Boris Johnson repeats false jobs claim in parliament

Boris Johnson repeats false jobs claim in parliament
PM claimed last month he accepted ‘chastisement’ by statistics watchdog

鲍里斯·约翰逊 has repeated a discredited claim about more Britons being in work than before the 冠状病毒病 pandemic – despite previously accepting a correction by the statistics watchdog.

The PM, branded a “Pinocchio prime minister” on Wednesday, told the Commons that they were “more people in work than there were before the pandemic”.

It is the same claim that the UK Statistics Authority had previously scolded him for making in parliament – saying it was simply “wrong”.

Mr Johnson has sought to use figures showing that there are hundreds of thousands more people on the payroll than before the pandemic began.

But the figures do not include the self-employed. The total number of Britons in employment – once the self-employed are included – is more than 500,000 lower than before the pandemic began.

UKSA chair Sir David Norgrove previously wrote to Mr Johnson to say “it is wrong to claim that there are now more people in work than before the pandemic began”.

Asked by the Commons liaison committee last month if he accepted Sir David’s correction, Mr Johnson said: “Yes I do … I took particular care today, mindful as I am of Sir David’s chastisement on all occasions, I stressed it was payroll employment I was talking about.”

But Mr Johnson again talked about “people in work” without referring to payroll on Wednesday.

He told PMQs: “We’re going to get on with delivering for the British people, making sure we power out of the problems Covid has left us … More people in work than there were before the pandemic.”

The Full Fact group responded: “The prime minister has just said it *again*. There are *not* more people in work now than there were before the pandemic began. There are half a million fewer.”

The prime minister did use the distinction later at PMQs, 然而, when he said that there were “more than half a million people back on the payroll [更多的] than there were before the pandemic began”.

Mr Johnson and his ministers have made at least 27 false statements to parliament since the 2019 选举, and have failed to correct them.

A recent investigation by 独立 – working with Full Fact – has found that the prime minister made 17 of these statements.

None of the statements has been formally corrected – a process that is required under the ministerial code. Will Moy, chief executive of Full Fact, said it amounted to a “crisis of dishonesty”.

在星期三, 劳动 published details of its attempt to instigate an investigation into whether Mr Johnson misled parliament in his initial response to reports of Covid breaches at No 10.

MPs will on Thursday vote on a motion which, if passed, would refer him to parliament’s privileges committee to consider whether his conduct amounted to a contempt of the Commons.

The motion – signed by the Westminster leaders of the Liberal Democrats, SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and Alliance – highlights comments made by Mr Johnson in the Commons on 1 December and 8 十二月, including an assurance “that all guidance was followed in No 10”.

Mr Johnson was branded a “Pinocchio prime minister” by SNP MP Richard Thomson at PMQs on Wednesday.

But Commons speaker Sir Lindsay Hoyle called on Mr Thomson to withdraw the remark and “be more moderate” in his language.