Boris Johnson just agreed with principle that ‘politicians must not lie’
Boris Johnson has just agreed with the principle that “politicians must not lie”.
The UK Prime Minister was challenged on the subject today by Plaid Cymru MP for Arfon, Hywel Williams, in the House of Commons.
Williams said that “lies, corruption scandals and a lack of accountability have defined Westminster’s rotten politics for years” and said that his party will be proposing a new law to be introduced to make lying by politicians illegal.
He referenced a Bill introduced by Plaid Cymru leader Adam Price in 2007 that would have made lying by politicians illegal.
Johnson was asked by Williams if supported the “principle” behind the Bill.
In response, the PM said he would “concur with the basic principle that he just enunciated”.
He has faced widespread criticism about several untrue statements in recent months, both in Parliament and in the media.
Hywel Williams MP said: “In 2007, my friend Adam Price, then the member for Carmarthen East and Dinefwr proposed an ‘Elected Representatives (Prohibition of Deception) Bill’
“At this distance in time it would be unkind to quiz the Prime Minister on the detail – but he is seen as a big thinker.
“So today, perhaps he could just tell the House what he thinks of the principle of that Bill, which is that on important matters of public policy, politicians must not lie.”
Speaking after the session, Williams said that Plaid Cymru will be working with cross-party think-tank Compassion in Politics on a Bill that would ensure that there are consequences for politicians who intentionally lie.
Compassion in Politics has led a petition pressing for lying to be made illegal, which has already gained nearly 200,000 signatures.
Speaking after the session, Williams said: “The Prime Minister’s response to my question was quite literally unbelievable.
“The public’s trust in politics has been trashed by a string of bare faced lies by Boris Johnson and others in his Tory Cabinet.
“His jocular response will do nothing to restore that trust. It just confirms the obvious fact that he does not take lying to the public to be a serious concern.
“Lies, corruption scandals and a lack of accountability have defined Westminster’s rotten politics for years. We need a change in the law to stop further decline in the quality of public debate.
“Plaid Cymru will be working with cross-party think-tank Compassion in Politics on a Bill that would ensure that there are legal consequences for politicians who intentionally lie.
“Under the Bill, every public pronouncement by a politician would be treated as including a promise that, to the best of their knowledge, it is true. Supporting our efforts is the very least this reckless Tory government could do.”