“It is an extraordinary fact that this country is forecast in our lifetimes to become the largest and most prosperous economy in this hemisphere”

Boris Johnson, The Daily Telegraph

June 3, 2019

Claim

Johnson wrote the above sentence as the first paragraph of his Daily Telegraph column on 3 June.

Facts

On 4 November the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) upheld a complaint of inaccuracy by economist Jonathan Portes. Portes said no forecast predicted that the UK economy would in our lifetime become the largest and most prosperous economy in our hemisphere, or any hemisphere.

The newspaper said the statement was based on an extrapolation of a forecast by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development of real GDP between 2020 and 2060.

It added that since the article was a comment piece the columnist had “made an exposition of a particular and subjective point of view and was making an argument; he was not setting out facts in the same way as would be associated with a news story.”

IPSO said Johnson had not made sufficiently clear that he was extrapolating a forecast. It said the inaccuracy was made worse by the fact the claim had been made so prominently in the article and had been prefaced with the words “It is an extraordinary fact that.”

Verdict

Boris Johnson’s claim that the UK economy was forecast to become the largest and most prosperous in our hemisphere was false.

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