“I don’t believe they are.”

Boris Johnson, Meeting of the House of Commons Liaison Committee

September 14, 2020

Facts

Asked by Brexit select committee chair Hilary Benn whether the EU was negotiating in good faith, Johnson said: “I don’t believe they are.”

According to a Government document published that same morning, the opposite was true: "The Government is extremely confident the EU is working in good faith and shares our desire to avoid these serious consequences". 

Verdict 

Boris Johnson’s claim that the EU was not negotiating in good faith was contradicted by a document published by his own government that very day. This readiness to make statements that are proved wrong by documents produced by the government he leads is normal conduct from the Prime Minister - see for example here, here or here. Boris Johnson’s false statement remains on the Commons record, in defiance of the Ministerial Code. The Prime Minister was not lying - he may have genuinely believed what he told the Liaison committee. Nevertheless he should have corrected the record.

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