“The Prime Minister follows the ministerial code and Nolan Principles when conducting himself in public life.”

Downing Street Spokesperson

April 28, 2021

Facts

This nonsensical statement was elicited from a Downing Street spokesperson after leaders of six opposition parties in the House of Commons wrote a joint letter to the speaker of the House of Commons accusing Boris Johnson of a “consistent failure to be honest.” In response, the spokesperson said that “The Prime Minister follows the ministerial code and Nolan Principles when conducting himself in public life.”

In their letter, the leaders of the Greens, SNP, Lib Dems, Plaid Cymru, SDLP and Alliance parties in Westminster referred to two codes of conduct that UK politicians are supposed to follow: the Nolan Principles and the Ministerial Code.

The six leaders wrote: “We believe the Prime Minister consistently fails to meet this standard.  This is not a question of occasional inaccuracies or a misleading use of figures: it is a consistent failure to be honest with the facts, or to correct wrong information at the earliest opportunity when misleading information is given.”

As well as the long series of lies, falsehoods and misleading statements which we have laboriously documented here, Johnson has breached the Nolan Principles in numerous other ways.

Verdict

The claim that the Prime Minister follows the Nolan principles and the Ministerial Code is total nonsense and in flagrant contradiction of the facts. Johnson has been in breach of the Ministerial Code and Nolan Principles many times during his time in office. On this website, we record scores of examples where the Prime Minister has misled parliament, which in itself is a breach of the Ministerial Code. This spokesperson’s remark shows yet again one of the unhappy consequences of having a liar as Prime Minister. 

Had the Downing Street official chosen to tell the truth, the spokesperson would have been obliged to resign. Instead, they lied. This misleading statement from a Downing Street spokesperson is especially troubling. Spokespeople for Downing Street are civil servants, paid for by taxpayers whose loyalty is to the state rather than any political party. 

Every civil servant who repeats a false statement to the public, or another department, or a foreign state or international body, or simply allows another party to go on believing it prolongs its life and makes it more difficult to correct. This is why on this website we have chosen to highlight a number of false statements issued by government officials.

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