“I've always been a big champion of women at the top of every organisation that I run. If you look at the way I ran City Hall was virtually half and half, it was a complete feminocracy at City Hall. The same goes for what I did in the Foreign Office”

Boris Johnson, Today programme

October 1, 2019

Claim

Boris Johnson made the claims when responding to the allegation by the journalist Charlotte Edwardes that he had groped her at a Spectator lunch party in 1999.

Facts

Boris Johnson was mayor of London until May 2016. City Hall’s gender pay gap audit showing data from March 2016 shows that in the top pay grade, in which staff were paid more than £114,000 per year, 78.6 percent were men — there were 11 men and three women. In the top pay grade there was also a gender pay gap of 10.22 percent.

In the second grade, in which staff were paid between £105,000 and £114,000, there were seven men and five women — so 58.3 percent men. In the third grade, salaries between £81,000 and £88,000 (there appear to be no staff paid between £88,000 and £105,000), there were 11 men and four women — so 78.3 percent men.

In terms of quartiles of the entire staff, 56.6 percent of the top quartile were men. The second quartile had more women than men — 57 percent were women.

Boris Johnson was foreign secretary from July 2016 to July 2018. The FCO’s gender pay gap report for 2017-2018 (April to March) shows that in 2018, 80 percent of employees in the top civil service grade, who are paid a minimum of £105,000 per year, were men. In 2017 the percentage was 70 percent. In the second-highest grade, 77 per cent were men in 2018 and 78 per cent in 2017.

In terms of quartiles of the entire staff, 61.25 percent of staff in the top quartile were men in 2017-18. In the second quartile, 62.41 percent were men.

Verdict

Neither City Hall nor the Foreign Office had “virtually half” female senior staff when Boris Johnson was in charge. His statement was wildly misleading. This episode reveals once again the prime minister’s habit of resorting to lies or fabrication when under pressure.

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