Six opposition parties have called upon Commons speaker, Sir Lindsay Hoyle, to allow a vote on an inquiry into Boris Johnson’s “consistent failure to be honest” in statements to MPs.
A letter, organised by the Green MP Caroline Lucas, has been signed by parliamentary party leaders including Ian Blackford (Scottish National party), Sir Ed Davey (Liberal Democrats), Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru), Colum Eastwood (SDLP) and Stephen Farry (Alliance).
The Labour leader, Sir Keir Starmer, was invited to sign the letter, but declined. A party source said Labour did not normally sign up to initiatives launched by other parties.
It comes after a lawyer’s viral video documenting spurious claims made by Boris Johnson in parliament has surpassed 10 million views on social media.
In August last year Peter Stefanovic compiled and uploaded a two-minute video in which he fact-checked several claims made by Johnson since he became prime minister.
These include the government’s record on emissions reductions, economic growth, nurses’ bursaries, hospital car parking, NHS spending, the Covid-19 track and trace app, and poverty in the UK.
Stefanovic said the public had “sent a message to UK media that if they won’t hold this prime minister to account for all his lies we will damn well do it ourselves” after the video reached the landmark.
Wow! We did it!! 10 million views!!— Peter Stefanovic (@PeterStefanovi2) April 13, 2021
By working TOGETHER we have sent a message to UK media that if they won’t hold this Prime Minister to account for all his lies we will damn well do it ourselves!
When will @BBCNews catch up? pic.twitter.com/PlvEkEij1V
Treating parliament with contempt
Lucas was reportedly inspired to take action after the video riled millions on social media.
“It’s hard to recall any prime minister who has treated parliament with the contempt that this one does,” she said.
“There is a normalisation of lying to the house which is deeply dangerous, especially coming from an increasingly authoritarian government which is looking at every means to avoid accountability.”
In their letter, the six MPs express their “deep concern” that the PM’s repeated failure to be truthful is damaging the reputation of the Commons.
They go on: “This is not a question of occasional inaccuracies or a misleading use of figures: it is a consistent failure to be honest with the facts, or to correct wrong information at the earliest opportunity when misleading information is given. This, we believe, amounts to a contempt of the house.”