According to Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn made him lie about the Salisbury poisoning…

Boris Johnson/Jeremy Corbyn
Fréa Lockley

Boris Johnson has been accused of ‘misleading the public’. He stated that experts from Porton Down were “absolutely categorical” that Russia was the source of novichok, the nerve agent that poisoned Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in March.

But on 3 April, Porton Down said it could not identify the “precise source” of the novichok. And then, on 4 April, it also emerged that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had deleted a tweet that also claimed the nerve agent was “produced in Russia”.

Amid calls for his resignation, Johnson’s answer was… to blame Jeremy Corbyn. Obviously.

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“Lamentable”

Johnson issued a series of tweets outlining his position. Firstly, he blamed Corbyn:

Next, he outlined his “key facts”:

According to Johnson, everyone else is “convinced”. And, don’t forget, it’s actually all Corbyn’s fault:

It is true that Corbyn urged caution before jumping to conclusions about the source of the novichok. And this sent right-wing media into a frenzy. But it now seems Johnson is also blaming Corbyn for his own words to a German media outlet:

And Corbyn is also probably responsible for the actions of the FCO, of course:

Really, Boris?

After a month of near-constant smear campaigns against Corbyn, many on Twitter were quick to challenge Johnson’s version of events:

But as diplomatic tensions rise between the UK and Russia, Johnson’s ‘error’ has serious implications. So calls to #SackBorisJohnson are spreading across Twitter:

As The Canary previously reportedBBC News coverage of recent events has also received widespread criticism. But as lawyer and activist Peter Stefanovic points out, the BBC also failed to accurately report Johnson’s statement:

But others have not been afraid to call Johnson an outright liar:

“Egg on his face”

Corbyn clearly stated that Johnson “needs to answer some questions”. And he went on to say that Johnson has “egg on his face for the statement he made on German television”:

The latest announcement is that Russia’s request to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) for a joint investigation into this case was voted down. On 5 April, Russia has called for an emergency session of the UN Security Council – a move that the FCO has already called “diversionary tactics”. And this suggests that relations between the UK and Russia look set to deteriorate further.

‘War is peace’

According to The Moscow Times, Sergei Naryshkin (head of Russia’s foreign intelligence service – SVR) warned of “‘unprecedented hypocrisy’ and a Cold War mentality” from the West, and said:

In fact all the norms that regulate intergovernmental relations are given precisely the opposite meanings.

Naryshkin reportedly went on to quote George Orwell’s famous line: “War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength.”

As Johnson blames Corbyn, who is so open in his opposition to warchemical weapons and the government handling of this case, Orwell’s words do seem alarmingly accurate.

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Featured images via Chatham House, Flickr/Global Justice Now, Flickr

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