“People are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country — and quite right, too”

Boris Johnson, Speech to his Cabinet

September 1, 2020

Facts

The Prime Minister told his weekly cabinet meeting that “people are going back to the office in huge numbers across our country”. But figures from Transport for London suggested that the number of passengers taking the Underground on the previous Tuesday (the first working day after the second August bank holiday) was still down by 72 per cent compared with a year earlier. 

While it is true that there had been a small increase in passenger numbers compared with the previous Tuesday - they were up by 8 per cent on the Tube and 6 per cent on buses - this partly reflected that many people were on holiday the week before.  

The Financial Times reported that business groups said they had not seen any major increase in office working on Tuesday, with one saying there was “no evidence to support that”.

Verdict 

There was and never has been any evidence to support Boris Johnson’s boast that people were going back to their offices “in huge numbers across our country.” The fact that Johnson made the false and fabricated claim in a speech to his Cabinet makes it even more worrying. While fighting the pandemic, Mr Johnson was living in a parallel world.

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