Defence Secretary Michael Fallon was humiliated on national TV again after his refusal to admit the truth even managed to exasperate ITV host Robert Peston. It shows the wheels on the Conservative’s Party’s election campaign are fast falling off.
It hasn’t been a good few days for Fallon. On Friday 26 May he was left red-faced on Channel 4 News, after attacking a quote he thought belonged to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. The quote was, in fact, from his colleague Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Appearing again on ITV’s Peston on Sunday, Fallon attempted to recover from this blunder but instead only managed to exasperate the presenter.
Peston first asked how Fallon’s colleague, Home Secretary Amber Rudd, could possibly claim that terror attacks would increase under Corbyn’s leadership:
That’s disreputable alarmism. There’s no evidence for that whatsoever.
Fallon claimed that one only had to look at Corbyn’s actions opposing counter-terrorism legislation and not supporting military action in Iraq and Syria. He said: “Corbyn is soft on terrorism”.
You are basing a campaign on making allegations that are simply not supported by the facts. The Prime Minister on Friday said Jeremy Corbyn has said that terrorist attacks on Britain are our own fault. He said no such thing.
— Tory Fibs (@ToryFibs) May 28, 2017
Fallon insisted that Corbyn did say that because he linked terrorism to foreign policy. But Peston argued that wasn’t the same thing. And furthermore, he explained that Johnson had made exactly the same point a few years ago.
BoJo said it too
Fallon maybe should have learned his lesson from Friday and got his counter argument a little tighter. But he selectivity quoted from Johnson’s comments, prompting Peston to remind him what the Foreign Secretary truly said:
He said those who argued that the attack on Iraq and the way that we got rid of Saddam without rebuilding Iraq, those people who said that would increase the risk of terrorism, they had a point. Those were his exact words… Do you want me to show you the article. Michael, don’t argue with me about it, I’ve got it.
Fallon then claimed Johnson was only arguing foreign policy gave terrorists a “fabricated pretext”. While he claimed that Corbyn said it gave them a justification. But, as Peston pointed out, Fallon himself was fabricating what Johnson had said in order to make his argument.
The episode does, however, highlight something important.
The Tories, with little positive messaging in their party manifesto, are seeking to run a negative campaign against Corbyn’s Labour. Claiming he is soft on terrorism is one such part of that. But Corbyn’s pledges to increase the capacity of intelligence staff and police to deal with future terror threats, don’t suggest he will be lax on terrorism.
Fallon’s conduct in this interview though does suggest that the wheels of the Tory campaign strategy are starting to fall off.
– Get out there and vote on 8 June.
– Discuss the key policy issues with family members, colleagues and neighbours. And organise! Join (and participate in the activities of) a union, an activist group, and/or a political party.
– Also read more Canary articles on the 2017 general election.
Featured image via video screengrab
We need your help to keep speaking the truth
Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.
Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.
We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.
In return, you get:
* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop
Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.
With your help we can continue:
* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do
We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?