Appearing on Good Morning Britain with Alastair Campbell and Susanna Reid, Former House of Commons Speaker John Bercow said that he could give a number of examples of Prime Minister Boris Johnson lying in Parliament.
The debate comes as a video posted online by lawyer and filmmaker Peter Stefanovic fact checking false claims made by Johnson surpasses 15 million views. The video covers falsities made by the Prime Minister in relation to the likes of CO2 emissions, poverty statistics, nurses’ bursaries and the NHS.
‘Deliberately misleading the House of Commons’
Speaking on GMB, Bercow said: “I served in the House of Commons alongside five Prime Ministers, four during my tenure as speaker - Tony Blair, Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Theresa May and Boris Johnson.
“None of the four preceding Boris Johnson was, in my judgement, guilty of deliberately misleading the House of Commons.”
Reid replied that she had to direct attention to guest host Campbell, who worked as spokesperson for ex-Prime Minister Tony Blair.
She said: “What about when Tony Blair told us about the reasons for going to war in Iraq and those turned out not to be the case. People will assume that there are things said in Parliament or by politicians that very often turn out not to be true.”
While Bercow said that this example “wasn’t the same”, Campbell replied: “Let me answer it. Six inquiries, none have found [Blair], or for that matter me [guilty] and as you know, this is my point about this whole lying business, we get attacked over lies that were not told 18 years on.
“[Johnson] can say something that’s untrue in Parliament a week ago and it’s already forgotten.”
Reid asked: “What is it that you are saying that Boris Johnson lied about in parliament?”
Before Campbell could answer, Bercow said: “How long have you got?”
‘Simply factually wrong’
Elaborating on his comment, Bercow said: “I could give you a number of examples [of lying].
“It is simply factually wrong for the Prime Minister to say that the economy under this Conservative government has grown by 73 per cent - the figure is in fact 20 per cent.
“It’s wrong, and provably so, for him to say there are 400,000 fewer families living in poverty, nobody recognises that statistic.
“It’s wrong for him to say that the government has reintroduced the nurses bursary, that simply isn’t the case. It’s demonstrably false.”
‘Disregard for truth and accuracy’
Reid replied by saying that “the Prime Minister doesn’t stand up in parliament by himself” but instead there is an opposition there and it is the opposition's job to hold the Prime Minister to account.
Bercow said: “In the end, the Prime Minister has the last word at Prime Minister’s Questions, and in responding to interrogation when he delivers statements to the House, so there are very severe limits and circumscription on what leaders of the opposition or others in parliament can do.
“The issue is whether in this new age, where there is disregard for truth and accuracy, what is needed is to reinvigorate the House by adding to and replenishing the powers of the Chair.”
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