Three interviews and countless lies later, Johnson’s hit a new level of dangerous

Boris Johnson
Fréa Lockley

On 1 October, Boris Johnson took part in three interviews. Each and every one of them was a total car crash. And in each and every one, his lies didn’t stop.

Liar liar

Johnson started off on the BBC Breakfast show. He then moved on to BBC R4‘s Today show and then to LBC radio. In each show, he rolled out a barrage of lies, failed to answer direct questions, and blamed everyone except himself for pretty much everything.

For example, LBC‘s Nick Ferrari caught him red-handed by asking if Naga Munchetty had breached “editorial guidelines at the BBC by calling Donald Trump a racist?”. Johnson claimed he’d never heard of Munchetty but that he “should know” and turned to his aides to see if they did. “Your whole team,” Ferrari pointed out, “is putting their hands up”. Johnson just smirked.

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He completely denied allegations of sexual misconduct made by journalist Charlotte Edwardes. When asked directly about this, he told BBC Breakfast that this “is a very difficult time” and that he’d come in for “a certain amount of shot and shell” for trying to deliver Brexit. When pushed further, he claimed three times the allegations are “not true” and said it was “very sad that someone should make such allegations”.

So Johnson, who’s on the record for repeatedly lying, effectively accused Edwardes of lying instead.

Brexit chaos

All three shows asked Johnson about leaked plans concerning the Irish border. On 30 September, RTÉ News published “highly controversial” details of proposals that:

would effectively mean customs posts being erected on both sides of the border, but located perhaps five to ten miles ‘back’ from the actual land frontier.

Throughout all the interviews, Johnson played these claims down. As the Guardian reported, he insisted the leak was ‘out-of-date’. Yet evidence has since emerged proving that this is exactly what Johnson will take to the EU:

Johnson also denied asking EU countries to veto an Article 50 extension. When asked about the Benn Act, Johnson dodged the questions again. This means that if there’s no Brexit deal by 19 October, the prime minister must ask for an extension. Yet, Johnson questioned its legality, saying:

We have bills and an act – the so-called Surrender Act – that I’m afraid has a massive consequence for the people and economy of this country were it to be effected.

We have no knowledge of how it was produced. It is not subject to normal parliamentary scrutiny. No-one knows by whose advice or legal advice it was drawn up.

On 4 September, the Act passed through the commons following an emergency debate. It received royal assent on 9 September.

Sorry, what?

Johnson told Nick Robinson on BBC Today perhaps the biggest lie of all. Claiming he’s still “the old, generous-hearted, loving” person he’s always been:

Labour’s David Lammy took this claim straight down:

But many people also pointed out that Nick Robinson let lies go unchallenged, suggesting the interview was basically a “puff piece”:

Johnson also claimed he’d been “tasked” to deliver Brexit. Robinson failed to question or unpack this claim:

“Charlatan”

Taken together, these three interviews highlight just how far Johnson’s lies go. Indeed, as one Twitter user said, he’s a “charlatan”:

Charlatan he may be, but Johnson isn’t clueless. Backed by Dominic Cummings and his right-wing government, this is a clear and dangerous strategy. The constant lying means we’re put in a constant place of firefighting and distraction. Unpacking all these lies may well prove impossible, but we can’t ignore them. And they also show how much we need a media willing to step up to confront them.

Featured image via ©UK Parliament / Jessica Taylor

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  • Show Comments
    1. Setting aside the ‘Westminster 21’ for whom demands for reinstatement are yet to appear as graffito on motorway bridges, surely there must be other Conservative MPs with a shred of decency?

      The Cabinet and lower tiers of government office might willingly be in thrall to Johnson and his megalomaniac ‘vision’ because they see something in it for themselves and their financial backers. That leaves a substantial number of Tory MPs having no direct connection with the City or with US based conglomerates. Perhaps among these are people of genuine decency trying to represent their constituents and forward national well-being? Some among them may reside in moated homes and own duck houses but the majority do connect with ordinary life.

      I refer to people in honest disagreement with many policies propounded by other political parties, notably Labour. It is easy to grasp how Labour as once was, and now to lesser extent, is unattractive through obsession with whining minorities that don’t add up to a majority. Fixation by factions of Labour with battles long since over and, in modern terms anachronistic, is not endearing. Only under Mr Corbyn has modern Labour shown willingness to face problems specific to the latter 20th Century and early 21st Century.

      Certainly under Corbyn’s leadership there will be imperative to do many things ranging from constitutional matters to dismantling neo-liberalism which at first sight threaten modern Conservative values. Yet it need not be so that Labour will, as might have been the case under Kinnoch, try to impose proletarian values on all. Also, many new entrants to Labour, such as I, are distinctly non-PC.

      There remains common ground for furthering prosperity (including that of the mind) for all, this without need of stifling initiative (including entrepreneurship within rebooted market-capitalism and mixed economy). That is attainable upon return to traditional parliamentary sobriety (in the Chamber).

      As matters stand, thoughtful Tory MPs face national progression into an ill-planned economic/social arena at behest of a demagogue whose life-style, financial expectations, and values (such as may be), bear no relationship to those they hold or those of their constituents. Retreat from where Johnson seeks to lead would be nigh impossible.

      Tory MPs, those outside the circle of plotters for immediate self-advancement and operating under the neo-liberal banner of ‘may the devil take the hindmost’, do face turbulence following the almost inevitable demise of Conservative government at the next general election. Either Labour shall take on the mantle else a coalition government not including the Tories. A ‘disaster’ of the party’s own making consequent upon collective lack of good judgement going back to Cameron’s time and exacerbated by falling under the spell of Johnson’s ersatz charisma.

      It is not too late for Conservatives retaining grasp of the concept of noblesse oblige (moribund after Mrs Thatcher came to power and absent also during Blair’s terrible reign) to salvage personal honour and maybe seats too. All that is required is to speak out now and perhaps join the ‘Westminster 21’. The only other thing required is not to impede Johnson’s dismissal from office. This can be achieved by abstaining when the matter is brought to the House but positive support would show where integrity truly lies. There must be an interim government to prepare for the general election and meanwhile keep the ship of state afloat. Although my preference is for Mr Corbyn to lead it I don’t deeply care who that shall be so long as it is done. Conservatives ought adopt similar pragmatic stance. Moreover, it is opportunity for backbench Tories to wrest policy control from a maverick and, in conjunction with their constituencies, to give their party a long overdue make-over.

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    2. Thoughtful, pragmatic Tories certainly couldn’t stand up to the fantasy of Johnson’s will.
      A mystery as to why? Fantasy is certainly underrated.
      It means I think there is nothing of an appealing human substance to take a stand for.
      It has been said Political Parties defeat themselves in the end, and are voted out. I think they just don’t understand what the concept of a democracy is about in a human sense, being carried away by the lust for power.
      Waiting until Johnson completely undoes the Tory Party has been good policy if that was the intention.

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