“No that’s not true”

Boris Johnson, House of Commons Liaison Committee

January 13, 2021

Facts

At the House of Commons Liaison Committee, Hillary Benn asked Johnson:

“Is it true that the UK rejected an offer from the European Union during the negotiations for a 90-day visa-free period for UK musicians who wanted to go and tour in Europe?”

To this, Johnson responded: “No, that’s not true”

No. 10 later admitted an EU proposal to allow visa-free tours by musicians was rejected, apparently because of a belief it clashed with ending free movement. A Downing Street spokesperson said that the offer "fell short” of what they wanted.

In a letter from Johnson to the chair of the Liaison committee, Sir Bernard Jenkin, he said: 

“The EU’s offer in the negotiations would not have worked for touring musicians: it did not deal with work permits at all and would not have allowed support staff to tour with artists. Moreover, the EU’s proposals were part of a package on visa-free travel that was not consistent with the Government’s manifesto commitment to take back control of our borders.”  

Verdict

Johnson told the Commons Liaison Committee that Britain had not rejected an offer from the EU about British musicians. This claim was false. The EU had made an offer which was rejected by the Johnson government.

The Prime Minister subsequently wrote back to the Liaison Committee. While he did not apologise, he did state that the EU made an offer, and that it was rejected.

This is the only (and highly welcome!) example we can find of the Prime Minister correcting the record after misleading the House of Commons. This website has so far documented 28 false statements made by Boris Johnson to MPs in defiance of the Ministerial Code. They can be seen here. The Prime Minister needs to come back to MPs and correct the record on each one of them.

PreviousNext